I also found his critique of how Liberalism (in the classical sense) fails to be most interesting and incisive.
Here we see exposed the Achilles' heel of all forms of liberalism, from Thomas Hobbes to John Rawls: the tenet that all men have the exact same proportionate fear of violent death, and that because such a fear is equally distributed, men all have the exact same motive to renounce violence, namely their equal fear of violent death at the hands of their neighbors. But the point of the master/slave dialectic is that all men do not have an equal fear of violent death, and that those who have less will rule those who have more. This means, when translated into social and cultural terms, that the social order that instills in its young an ethos of ruthlessness will eventually dominate those social orders that fail to do so.
IOW, the social contract only works where the gains and losses are symmetrical on all sides. Between the Orgs of the world, and the rest it is a decidedly asymmetrical relationship.
And thanks to this chapter, I now understand better why the Founding Fathers were originally going to write it "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property."
(pg171)This is why it is essential to stress the connection between property and the struggle over recognition: for Hegel, they are merely the two sides of the (pg172) dialectical coin.
That reminded me of Oh Brother, where Art Thou?
where the hopelessly charming Delmar says wistfully, "You ain't no kind of man if you ain't got land."
Harris gave very short shrift to the idea of natural law in this chapter. I wonder if that's because he thinks that there is no such thing (his own words don't really suggest that, I think), or that the case is hopelessly unprovable, or that, as a tactical concern, it doesn't matter against Org -certainly the latter is true. That is something I'd like him to clarify at the Chat. Edited by: Brother William of Baskerville 02 at: 9/3/04 6:18 am