I have a new article at Rethinking the State — which now has several new authors including Nathan Fox-Helser, Andrew Butler, and Paul Monroe — about the positive aspects of communitarian systems. I know that some people at YAL are pretty hardcore individualists and/or Objectivists, so I’d love to hear your take on the idea. I write:
…I have to admit that one of the key flaws I see in communitarian political philosophies is not so much the non-cohesive nature of the doctrines themselves, but rather the level at which they are prescribed. If communitarianism was only applied at the local level, could it really survive without an element of voluntarism? I feel that capitalist leaning nation-states are begging the question in saying that ideologies like socialism don’t work, because they are assuming that they must be applied at the nation-state level.
This involves the idea that the strictness of economic laws tends to lessen as they move further away from large-scale application, so anti-communitarian claims like the lack of an adequate price mechanism and lack of adequate information tends to become less of a problem for local communities because the nature of economic communication changes as the distance between actors closes. It also involves the idea put forth by such philosophers as David Hume that human beings are naturally sociable creatures, and a communitarian system at the local level would be able to use this sociability to its advantage.
Read the rest here.