Why Be Good?
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Kenneth A. Strike


Strike proposes that recent developments in the liberal philosophical tradition suggest liberalism to be dependent upon non-liberal moral sources for its motivational and cognitive vitality. He indicates that the question "Why be Good?" presupposes that people are in some sense grounded in moral traditions. According to Strike, we must therefore recognize our dependence upon our various moral traditions. In addition, we must find ways to educate our children and ourselves effectively in these traditions so that we know who we are and can work with others from a confident identity.





I shall begin by describing two characters familiar to most educators, whom I will name "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator." "Instrumentalist" is a school superintendent. She has learned to think of administration as an applied social science. She has a picture of social science research as a tool that informs her of the consequences of her actions, but one which sheds little light on what goals are worthy of pursuit. She thinks of goals as private and subjective. Sometimes (when she is talking to parents, for example) she calls goals "values," and sometimes (at professional meetings) she calls them "preferences."

"Instrumentalist" believes that one can’t be right or wrong about preferences. However, she gives them moral force in that she believes that people have a right to want what they want (see Monk, 1990, p. 15). This being so, "Instrumentalist" sees the process of formulating goals for her school as one of democratically aggregating preferences. She is not much impressed with philosophical attempts to delineate the character of a good education. She has the liberal’s and the economist’s disdain for philosopher kings. Nevertheless, wants and needs can be assessed and aggregated. "Instrumentalist" thinks of her task as finding effective and efficient ways to maximize a mix of preferences that are democratically, rather than professionally, legitimated.

But how does morality fit in? Generally, it doesn’t. "Instrumentalist" typically proceeds by seeking a course of action that she believes is an efficient means to a legitimate end. Occasionally, however, what seems most efficient seems objectionable for moral reasons. The most efficient action might require that she coerce someone, be undemocratic, or be devious. One shouldn’t be coercive, undemocratic or devious. Thus "Instrumentalist" isn’t opposed to morality, but her picture of morality assigns it the role of establishing boundary conditions on efficient action.

"Facilitator," on the other hand, is a teacher of English and social studies. He wants his students to become good citizens, to have an appreciation for good literature, and to be able to write a coherent sentence. "Morality" is not a term in "Facilitator’s" working lexicon, although "values" is. "Facilitator" is eager for his students to have "good values." He thinks of morality in disapproving terms. Morality is something people talk about when they object to young people reading some good adolescent books or when they want abstinence taught in sex education. It is a tool of censors and prudes. Values, "Facilitator" thinks, should be self-chosen. Teachers may help simply by generating class discussions that assist students in becoming more aware of options, their own preferences, and the consequences of their choices.

The ideas of these two people are not only about morality, they are also moral views in themselves. While "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" seek to avoid promoting their own picture of a good life or a good education, both have a deeply moral view of goal formation and decision making. It is a significant fact about their views that they are associated with moral languages that have emerged in different professional communities. "Instrumentalist’s" language is that of economists and organizational theorists. "Facilitator’s" is that of client centered therapy. That their respective approaches emphasize legitimate goals and decision making processes is a significant feature of their view of morality, one which suggests that their concepts of morality are variants of ideas with deep roots in modernity.

These two pictures, while they may differ in emphasis, share much. Both "Facilitator" and "Instrumentalist" employ a vocabulary that assumes that values are such things as likes, tastes, preferences, wants, and personal desires. They exist in the mind, not the world. They can be legitimate or authentic, but not true. They are non-cognitive. They seem not to be the result of socialization. They are how we feel about or respond to states of affairs.

There is a hint of the Kantian distinction between the right and the good in their thinking, especially that of "Instrumentalist." The good is about our preferences. The right has to do with rules regulating actions. "Facilitator" is confused about this. There seem to be just values. Sometimes "Facilitator" has trouble noticing the differences between statements such as, "Pickles are better than olives" and "Murder is wrong," since they are equally statements of values. But "Facilitator" often (inconsistently) hopes that his students will choose good values. He seems to think this means that regardless of what they themselves want, they should respect the rights of others. Both "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" think that people have a right to their own preferences or values. "Facilitator" is insistent on this. There are self-chosen values and imposed ones, but only the former are legitimate. This commitment and "Facilitator’s" tendency to use the word "values" for everything is one reason why "Facilitator" has a lot of trouble in thinking through the idea of what constitutes a good value. "Instrumentalist" is clear that people do not have a right to do whatever they want. Still, their preferences are their own business. Thus, while "Facilitator’s" vocabulary is less nuanced than "Instrumentalist’s," his usage suggests that the underlying conceptual framework is quite similar. Both hint at what, in other circles, would be called procedural or deontological liberalism, although neither has gotten it quite right.

Finally, it is significant that neither "Instrumentalist" nor "Facilitator" is able to speak an extensive "communal" language about morality. In both cases, goals are subjective states of individuals. Institutional goals, when we must have them, are achieved by aggregating these individual preferences. "Facilitator" is almost entirely unable to conceive of a common good or the public interest. "Instrumentalist" has both the economist’s and the Kantian’s vocabulary for this. There are thus public goods, those not efficiently served by markets, and moral principles that restrain actions. However, neither "Instrumentalist" nor "Facilitator" has any sense of their school as a "constitutive community"- a community whose "form of life" defines the good and shapes personal identity for its members (cf. Sandel, 1982). In neither case could discovering one’s good mean more than introspectively discovering it or performing some calculation to achieve an optimal mix of tastes. One could not discover one’s good by unpacking the content of a commitment or exploring the wisdom of a shared community. Nor is morality seen as discursive or dialogical. There need not even be shared purposes so long as the aggregation of preferences is capable of rationalizing a coherent educational strategy.

Of course, like many educators, "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" may each wax eloquent about making their schools into communities. But they will explicate this in a way that does not reduce their individualism about educational goals. They may hope to persuade their students and teachers to care for one another, but they don’t have a communal language that is grounded in a shared vision of the educational goods that their profession is intended to promote.

There is some irony in this. The moral dialects spoken by "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" were acquired by their being initiated into the language of a professional community. Their moral vocabulary bespeaks their professional socialization. However, since the moral language they have learned has no way to say this- at least about their "values"- this fact may be hidden from them.

Let me use Alasdair MacIntyre (1984; 1988) to suggest one picture of the features of a communal language. For MacIntyre, communities are built around shared practices and shared moral traditions. Practices are complex activities to which certain shared goods are internal. Practices are associated with certain virtues that are required for the realization of the goods of the practices themselves. The goods of practices are, in turn, judged through the perspective of moral traditions that MacIntyre describes as ongoing conversations rooted in shared convictions. Among the features that make this a communal outlook are the depiction of tradition as a conversation among group members, the capacity to reference membership as relevant to discovering one’s good, the importance of membership to personal identity, the depiction of virtues as characteristics people need in order to pursue shared goods, and, especially, the recognition that having or understanding ethical arguments often depends on initiation into some community (see Strike, 1995).

By contrast, what it means for education to lack a communal ethical language can be illustrated by an irony of "Facilitator’s" teaching. "Facilitator," as I have described him, wants his students to come to have an appreciation of good literature. But he also tells a story about values in which values are private preferences. He believes that students should make their own choices about values. These two aspects of his teaching are at odds.

Suppose that "Facilitator" is teaching a lesson on poetry. He wants his students to come to appreciate the beauty of the language and its capacity to reveal experience and expand insight. One student in his class, however- Fred- takes an instrumental view of poetry. Perhaps Fred wishes to use poetry to impress girls, or he dreams of a lucrative job writing greeting cards. Thus when "Facilitator" wishes to analyze the complexity of a poem, Fred objects, "But this is too complicated to impress Suzie," or "It isn’t nearly schmaltzy enough for Hallmark." How is a teacher to respond?

Neither "Instrumentalist" nor "Facilitator" has much to say about Fred’s impoverished view of poetry. It is difficult to see that either "Instrumentalist" or "Facilitator" could have a reason to believe Fred mistaken. That his preferences pervert those goods internal to poetry counts for nothing within the moral language games of "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator," respectively. Within a more communal language game, however, there is much to say to Fred. One can try to help Fred see what others see in poetry- to help him experience the language as poets do and through it the world, indeed to initiate Fred into the tradition of poetry and the community of poets or poetry lovers. To do this is to see poetry as a practice with certain goods internal to it and Fred as a potential initiate whose life may be improved by his discovery of these goods and thus whose current stance towards poetry needs repair. A more communal language is required in order for us to see that Fred is mistaken about poetry.

Such a stance would require "Facilitator" to see himself as a member of a community that functions as custodian and teacher of the practices and goods that the community holds dear. To take this stance would be to understand why Fred, who has treated poetry as having a purely instrumental connection to lust and greed, has not yet gotten the point of poetry. Fred has asked "Facilitator" to take a stance towards poetry that would be analogous to that of a lawyer who uses the most devious tactics to free the guiltiest of criminals, or a physician who would be willing to inflict modest damage on his patients so that they could avoid military service or collect insurance claims. Such activities turn law and medicine away from the goods internal to their practice, which are justice and health, respectively. But the moral languages of "Facilitator" and of "Instrumentalist" do not allow them to see the subject matters taught in schools as practices with their own internal goods. Nor do their moral languages allow them to see teachers as members of communities that exist to pursue these practices and to initiate novices into them.

I shall return to "Facilitator" and "Instrumentalist" later. Here I want to draw two conclusions. The first is that we cannot make sense of ethics without sometimes using this kind of communal language. I have illustrated such language by speaking of practices and the goods internal to them. However, I might have used the Wittgensteinian (1963) language of "forms of life," or I might have used the Hegelian (1979) language of sittlichkeit (ethical substance). Each way of speaking views ethical discourse as woven into the fabric of ongoing human communities and practices, into which new human beings are initiated, and by which they are formed. The second conclusion is that discussions of moral motivation need to address both the process (or processes) by which initiation into their practices and traditions takes place, and the kind of language that we employ for the purpose of such initiation. Initiation into communities and practices is what makes us ethical beings.



What does the question ask? Are there people who seriously question whether they should be moved by moral arguments? Could we answer them? Would it make a difference if we did? We are not asking whether there are bad people or whether evil is real. There are; it is. We are trying to imagine people who are outside of morality looking for reasons to come in.

Let us consider some possibilities concerning what such persons might be like.

  1. We might imagine someone who found moral arguments justifying, but not motivating. She might say, "I know what is right, but I don’t understand why I should care." This person has disassociated moral justification from moral motivation. Let us call her "Disconnected."
  2. We might also imagine someone who is outside of morality in a more radical way. He rejects the project. Moral claims neither justify nor motivate. Let us call this person "Amoralist."
  3. Finally, we might imagine someone who is willing to be moral only if presented with arguments that show that it is in his interests to do so. Let us call him "Egoist."

If we think about "Disconnected," we can see she is not rationalizing, but we have to ask whether her position is plausible . Rationalization assumes that people are motivated to hide their evil from themselves. Unlike "Disconnected," people who rationalize seem prepared to acknowledge that they have willfully done evil, but this admission is usually made after the fact. To rationalize, they commonly contextualize their admissions within the framework of an excuse. "Yes, I see now that it was wrong, but at the time I thought..." or "Yes it was wrong, but I couldn’t help myself." When the action in question remains in the future, people contextualize their behavior in a way that seems to say it is usually wrong, except in the present case. "I know it’s wrong to steal, but the store ripped me off last week." A particularly common ploy in rationalization is the claim that the act doesn’t really hurt anyone. Another tendency is to say that the intended victim deserved it. Even those who seem to personify evil, Hitler for example, have often sought to justify their conduct by rationalizing it. Those who seem to us to be overtly self-serving generally do likewise. Satan is sometimes pictured as nursing a grievance against God: even the devils believe and rationalize.

"Disconnected," however, has no reason to rationalize. Since moral arguments do not move her, there is nothing threatening in recognizing her own evil. Guilt should not be a problem for her. This is what makes "Disconnected" implausible. Few human beings are able to do evil without the aid of some guilt management.

Most religious traditions assume that people can come to recognize their own evil. How else can they seek forgiveness or redemption? But this too seems inconsistent with the plausibility of characters like "Disconnected." It assumes that those who do manage to see through to their own evil suffer guilt as a consequence. Thus characters such as "Disconnected," who require us to imagine people capable of recognizing good moral arguments, but being unmoved by them, seem implausible. To feel the force of a moral argument is to be moved by it.

Someone like "Amoralist," who seriously questions whether he should accept the very project of morality and thus asks whether there are good arguments for why he should be moral, is even less plausible. We might understand "Amoralist’s" view of morality analogously, for example, by considering the way some of us view astrology. Those of us who reject astrology might say, "Yes, I see that it follows from the premises of astrology that if the planets are in such and such a position that thus and so will happen. But I am unconvinced of the merits of astrology so I am unpersuaded by its arguments."

One problem with "Amoralist’s" view is that his very position is itself a moral stance. Such a person is already situated within a moral outlook. Thus it is unclear that we can even begin coherently to characterize someone as remaining outside of morality, yet open to being argued inside. Stepping into morality isn’t like coming in out of the rain. Arguing in a similar vein, Bernard Williams (1972) notes that "Amoralist" would be unable even to feel a sense of smugness or satisfaction in his superiority to those bound by morality, since in so doing he would appeal to moral considerations of a sort. He might, for example, picture himself as more courageous than is ordinary. Nietzsche, it seems, would not qualify as an amoralist. What would an argument presented to "Amoralist" look like? The argument would either contain moral premises or would not. If it did, it fails since the question is begged. No one who is currently unpersuaded by moral argumentation will be convinced by an argument with moral premises. What is the next move? We might appeal to self interest. What is now required is an argument that shows morality to be contingently connected to some non-moral good that the individual is already presumed to want. We have now turned "Amoralist" into "Egoist."

Yet it isn’t clear that this is really the kind of argument we need. Even if we succeed, we will not have persuaded "Egoist" to act for the sake of moral considerations. We will merely have persuaded him to act in accordance with morality because some non-moral good he wants is contingent on doing so. "Egoist" is likely to notice that he is best off in a society in which everyone other than himself is moral and that it only makes sense to behave morally when doing so is in his own self interest. Arguments that start from a presumption of psychological egoism and try to justify the very project of morality seem most dubious.

Concerning "Amoralist," Williams suggests that such a person would seem more like a psychopath than a skeptical philosopher. His conclusion seems like that of Aristotle who, in his Politics, suggests that man is by nature a social and political animal. Outside of the polis (the city, or human community) there are no human individuals, but only gods or beasts. This is a conclusion that can be extended to each of the three characters. "Disconnected," "Amoralist," and "Egoist" are not characters whose positions reflects real intellectual options. They seem more like people who are morally damaged or who are the product of a severe failure of nurture or socialization.

The direction in which these arguments point can be re-cast in the language of Wittgenstein (1963). People become human by being initiated into various forms of life. What we call morality isn’t a form of life. It is internal to any conceivable form of life. We cannot imagine people being initiated into some form of human life or human community without, at the same time, acquiring a sense of the good and a sense of what counts as a reason for acting that includes moral considerations. To learn these things is not only to learn what counts as a reason for various actions, but is also to be moved to do them. There are no human beings for whom morality is convincing, but not motivating. There are no human beings outside of morality wondering if they should come in.

In adopting the language of Wittgenstein concerning forms of life, I have again begun to speak a more communal language. Initiation into a form of life is initiation into some form of community, into a lived world. People are formed by their initiations into various communities. Conversely, the formulations of the question, "Why be good?" that I have rejected are ones that we are most likely to find compelling only if we have a less communal picture of morality. This is, of course, the kind of picture of morality that grips both "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator." Since they both picture values or preferences as though they somehow arose from the individual psyche and do not attend to the extent to which wants and needs are socially formed, they are especially likely to find "Egoist’s" version of "Why be good?" compelling.



My rejection of the broad question, "Why be good?" does not preclude asking how people come to have a sense of justice. It does, however, require us to understand this question as asking how moral concepts are internalized or extended. It may view people as having been initiated into a local view of morality and wondering why they should be just, perhaps to people outside the local group. This may be an especially important question for deontological liberals or justice theorists who envision thin conceptions of justice not dependent on any particular conceptions of a good life. In this connection, I would like to take a brief look at the views of Habermas and Rawls, two rather prominent deontologists.

Habermas (1990) has discussed the question of how we come to possess a sense of justice in the context of Hegel’s objections to Kantian morality. Habermas’s discourse ethics, like the ethics of Kant, is cognitivist, formalist, and deontological. Hegel names this type of ethic moralitat and distinguishes it from Sittlickeit.(Hegel, 1979). Sittlichkeit, ethical substance, is the concrete ethic of a particular community or culture. In Wittgenstein’s terms, it is a form of life replete with substantive assumptions about the nature of human goods. Hegel then argues, if I may simplify, that moralitat is vacuous. Apart from some concrete vision of a good life, formalist ethics of the Kantian sort cannot get a grip on human life. Habermas grants Hegel his point about Kant. His solution is to insist that in adopting a formalist ethic, people nevertheless continue to be rooted in the lived world. Thus the domain of the practical is differentiated into, on the one hand, moral questions that can be answered universally and rationally and, on the other, evaluative questions that can be discussed "only within the unproblematic horizon of a concrete historical form of life..." (Habermas, 1990, p. 108). Habermas goes on to claim that "practical judgments derive...their power to motivate action from their inner connection to unquestioningly accepted ideas of the good life" (p. 108), and that "Universalist moralities are dependent on forms of life that...make possible the prudent application of universal moral insights and support motivations for translating insights into moral action" (p.109).

Given this claim, a theory of moral motivation for Habermas would have the following features. It would show how a sense of justice is rooted in forms of life and discuss what kinds of forms of life are required to sustain the practice of a deontological theory of justice. Since these accounts of good lives are non-cognitive, Habermas would have to view these accounts of moral motivation as explanatory rather than justificatory. Nevertheless, insofar as it is desirable that people be motivated to be just or that they have a sense of justice, it is also desirable that people be able to find reasons in their conceptions of a good life that motivate them to justice.

In both A Theory of Justice (1971) and Political Liberalism (1993), Rawls provides several arguments that have (roughly) this shape. Rawls often argues that people would be motivated to support a liberal theory of justice because under such a theory they are treated fairly and have a fair chance to actualize their own conception of their own good. Religious people, for example, might support a liberal theory of justice because it protects them from religious oppression and permits them to practice their faith (see Rawls, 1971, pp.496-504.) In addition, Rawls provides an account of how the sentiments of love and affection formed initially within the family are developed and transformed, in cognitive content and range, into a morality of association and finally into a morality of principle with a suitable sense of justice (Rawls, 1971, pp. 462-478).

Most interestingly, in Political Liberalism (1993), Rawls sketches a characterization of liberalism that makes people’s nonpolitical associations and the views of a good life connected with them important in their acceptance and understanding of liberal justice. In distinguishing political liberalism from comprehensive liberalism, Rawls claims that a liberal theory of justice must be based on an overlapping consensus and that it must be religiously and philosophically shallow. It cannot presuppose any highly partisan and controversial religious or philosophical claims.

These ideas require something stronger for support than that a liberal view of justice should be neutral to various religious and philosophical conceptions. They suggest that it should be of such a character as to seem reasonable from the perspective of diverse pictures of a good life. Rawls’s approach thus suggests that the justification of a liberal view of justice assumes different forms, depending on the perspective one takes. From one perspective- the public view- a theory of justice for a modern pluralistic state must meet conditions of universality and neutrality. It must equally respect those of different religions, races, or ethnic backgrounds. It must be consistent with a political conception of the self in which people are viewed as free and equal. However, from the private perspective, each group must be able to see a liberal theory of justice as something that is reasonable on grounds internal to their particular view. To illustrate, from the public side religious liberty is required by the demand that a liberal theory be religiously neutral. From the perspective of various religions, however, it is desirable for religious liberty to be seen as a reasonable application of religious commitment. Perhaps religious liberty can be seen as an expression of the view that genuine faith must be voluntary or of the doctrine of the separation of religious and secular spheres- both widely held doctrines. The Christian should be able to say, "For me to live is Christ," and want to be just on that account. (These ideas are more fully developed in Strike, 1993.)

Throughout Rawls’ work there is much that recognizes the communal or associational character of people’s pictures of the good life. Views of the good are often seen as rooted in religious or philosophical convictions. They are not pictured as mere aggregations of preferences. They have the kind of cognitive structure that might be characterized as a moral tradition. They are religions, philosophies, and cultures, not bundles of desires. They are commonly expressed through the myriad of group affiliations that constitute civic, not political life. Rawls (1971) does not describe liberal society as an aggregation of individuals joined by a shared view of justice, but as a "union of social unions" (pp.520-529).

If the sense of justice is dependent on our prior embeddedness in family and community in the ways Rawls or Habermas suggest, then it is a moral disaster for a society’s public institutions to take a competitive stance towards these nonpublic associations that comprise civic life. Pursuantly, educational practices that undermine civic life are a form of moral suicide. Ultimately, they erode the principal source of loyalty to justice that is possible in pluralistic states. Something similar can be said about the moral conceptions and languages that regulate discourse and practice in public institutions. If liberal theories of justice understand themselves as being in competition with the ethical conceptions that live in various forms of life or various religions and cultures, they will tend to undermine the very sources of motivation on which they depend.

Having made these points, I want to return to the moral languages of "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator." I want to claim that they involve just this problem and that we should regard them as forms of cultural assistance to moral suicide. Why? Essentially because they undermine ethical development in a variety of ways. They do so subtly by suggesting conceptions of the human good in which the initiation of unformed human beings - children - into various communities associated with thick and rich views of human goods or of good lives, plays no role. Neither "Instrumentalist" nor "Facilitator" has a conception of practices and of goods internal to them. They lack a sense of people being formed within forms of life. Instead they have values and preferences, wants and likings, whose source seems either inward or mysterious, but evoke no sense of the need to initiate students into ongoing human activities and ongoing communities.

"Facilitator" and "Instrumentalist" both implicitly formulate the question, "Why be good?" in an unsolvable way. Both views are conducive to a certain form of egoism. If the goods that people have are preferences or values, then the question, "Why be good?" is likely to be formulated as "How will moral behavior enable me to maximize my set of preferences or achieve my values?" There is, I have argued, no good answer to this question. To ask it is to miss the fact that people become moral by being initiated into practices and traditions to which various virtues and moral commitments are integral and by forming bonds and moral sentiments within communities so constituted. A successful initiation shapes one’s sense of the good and one’s attachments in such a way that the question of the egoist no longer will seem sensible. One who has become a good athlete or a good mathematician or a good poet can recognize that cooperation, honesty, fair play, and integrity are internal to these practices. They can also understand how friendship and group solidarity are important to the good life. Such people may be tempted to prefer the interests of their own group to the interests of others, indeed they may be selfish or otherwise flawed, but they will not be puzzled as to why they should care about others. For them, developing a sense of justice is not a matter of answering the egoist’s question. It is, as Rawls suggests, a matter of extending the attachments developed in the family or local community to everyone.

Can "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" hold that people might value or have a preference for justice? Of course. They can conceive of justice as a value. The problem is to formulate a conception of human beings and human life in which it makes some sense to think that people are likely to have such preferences or values. "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" have no such conceptions. Moreover, the roots of "Instrumentalist" in a kind of empiricism and of "Facilitator" in client-centered therapy are inimical to their formulating any. Their views of human nature are insufficiently attentive to the ways people are formed socially. They are similarly inattentive to the extent to which, as a result, developing moral motivation is a matter of initiating people into practices and traditions in which morality makes sense because it contributes to sustaining forms of life that seek to realize commonly valued goods. "Facilitator" and "Instrumentalist" will both, in their own ways, transform this point back into the egoist’s unanswerable question.

Finally, as educators, "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" are likely to miss the importance of their students’ rootedness in various religious traditions and cultures. These will serve an orienting function for most students. (For discussion, see Taylor, 1989.) They will inform students about what kinds of educational activities are valuable and for what reasons. These conceptions may make teaching easier or more difficult, but they cannot be ignored. This is especially true for the question of moral motivation. Schools rightly will emphasize the universalizing ethic of justice. If they are to create a sense of justice among their students, they must connect this ethic to the more particularistic outlook that students bring to school with them in some of the ways Rawls suggests. They must show children that justice affirms their community, that the desire to treat others justly is an expansion of the bonds of loyalty and affection that they have already formed in their families and their communities, and that justice follows from commitments they already have. They must use the moral resources of the child’s community as means to develop a sense of justice.

I do not suggest that approaching moral motivation as an extension and affirmation of the child’s prior and local moral experience can succeed everywhere. Some children come to school with precious little that can be used. They may come morally damaged. Some local communities may have promoted moral conceptions inimical to justice. My argument does not preclude the possibility that people are damaged or communities pernicious. Nevertheless, most cultures and religions will provide rich material. The role of school is to affirm and employ this material, not to ignore or stand in an adversarial relationship to it.

But this is what "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" are likely to do. They will dissolve culture and conviction into so many aggregated preferences and values. Thus they will lose the importance of their orienting character. Indeed, the languages of both "Facilitator" and "Instrumentalist" are themselves likely to be hostile to religion and culture. "Instrumentalist’s" emphasis on preferences is rooted in a kind of utilitarianism and hedonism. "Facilitator’s" conception of values has similar roots overlaid with a bit of depth psychology. Both are inimical to traditional religions and dissolve much of culture as well.

In place of an approach that attends to the child’s rootedness, "Instrumentalist" will adopt a technicist approach to learning and "Facilitator" a therapeutic one. "Instrumentalist" will search the literature and ponder the regression tables, seeking instructional strategies, patterns of resource allocation, and organizational structures that are associated with enhanced learning. She will not notice the alienation that results from instructional strategies foreign to many students’ cultures. "Facilitator" will long for authentic values and thus will place himself in opposition to many students’ traditions and religions. Neither will see the need to connect to the child’s rootedness. They are more likely to foster alienation than attachment. A sense of justice will be only one casualty.

The moral languages of "Instrumentalist" and "Facilitator" will erode attempts at moral education that schools might attempt. If we wish to use schools to develop a sense of community or to create a sense of justice, we are unlikely to succeed so long as these languages structure the outlook of so many educators. We need to respect and reclaim the richness and robustness of our diverse non-public associations as a resource for moral education. We need a liberal society with a communitarian soul.



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