quinta-feira, julho 09, 2009

Nota sobre o ensaio clássico de Oakeshott

Não conhecia o "On Being Conservative" (1956), de Michael Oaekshoot. Li-o ontem e considero-o um ensaio magnífico: muito bem escrito/pensado, com ideias claras e bons argumentos. Sobre a tese, tenho a dizer isto: identifiquei-me com algumas ideias acerca do que deve ser a política à luz da "disposição" que define o conservador (as ideias que eu tinha sobre o conservadorismo, devo dizer, modificaram-se um pouco com a leitura do ensaio); porém, não concebo a minha vida sem a possibilidade de mudar - sem a possibilidade de decidir mudar sem ter certezas claras sobre os 'ganhos obtidos' com a mudança (este é um ponto que eu ainda não percebi bem no ensaio, porque não sei como se calculam essas coisas; lembra-me o problema de Bentham). Em suma, haverá aqui (estou a fazer o meu próprio diagnóstico...) um pequeno conflito entre personalidade (na descrição de Oaekshoot, sou uma jovem que vive num estado de «delightful insanity»...) e ideologia.

Deixo aqui a parte final do ensaio. Oaekshoot cita Shelley, entre outros. Belíssimo.

Everybody's young days are a dream, a delightful insanity, a sweet solipsism. Nothing in them has a fixed shape, nothing a fixed price; everything is a possibility, and we live happily on credit. There are no obligations to be observed; there are no accounts to be kept. Nothing is specified in advance; everything is what can be made of it. The world is a mirror in which we seek the reflection of our own desires. The allure of fiolent emotions is irresistible. When we are young we are not disposed to make concessions to the world; we never feel the balance of a thing in our hands - unless it be a cricket bat. We are not apt to distinguish between our liking and our esteem; urgency is our criterion of importance; and we do not easily understand that what is humdrum need not be despicable. We are impatient of restraint; and we readily believe, like Shelley, that to have contracted a habit is to have failed. These, in my opinion, are among our virtues when we are young; but how remote they are from teh disposition appropriate for participating in the style of government I have been describing. Since life is a dream, we argue (with plausible but erroneous logic) that politics must be an encounter of dreams, in which we hope to impose our own. Some unfortunate people, like Pitt (laughably called "the Younger"), are born old, and are eligible to engage in politics almost in their cradles; others, perhaps more fortunate, belie the saying that one is young only once, they never grow up. But these are exceptions. For most there is what Conrad called the "shadow line" which, when we pass it, discloses a solid world of things, each with its fixed shape, each with its own point of balance, each with its price; a world of fact, not poetic image, in which what we ahve spent on one thing we cannot spend on another; a world inhabited by others besides ourselves who cannot be reduced to mere reflections of our own emotions. And coming to be at home in this commonplace world qualifies us (as no knowledge of "political science" can ever qualify us), if we are so inclined and have nothing better to think about, to engage in what the man of conservative disposition understands to be political activity.