Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Quick Post on Good Behavior

As Donald Trump has put male behavior towards women front and center for the moment, I thought I would share this from Ken Minogue’s essay The Fate of Rationalism in Oakeshott’s Thought:

I pluck from the current headlines a proposal made in Britain by the current minister for Schools and Children—a title that would’ve provoked notable derision from Oakeshott. New guidelines for schools should require that boys from the age of five onward must be taught respect for girls as one element in a curriculum at something called ‘personal development.’ Oakeshott knew, as most of us do unless we are ministers of the crown promoting a faith, that men refraining from acting violently toward women is part of the absorption of manners they acquire in the interstices of early life, partly by imitation of adults and partly by absorbing elements of the chivalric convictions that have almost perennially been a presence in European life. The notion that such subtle and central modes of conduct can be disseminated propositionally by a taught course of a didactic kind, is a piece of rationalism that no sophisticated person would take seriously.”

The only thing I would add here is that Minogue is quite wrong in his conclusion. A great number of ‘sophisticated people’ would take the described proposition seriously.

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