The Importance of Cultural Preservation

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If I can be considered a "dissident philosopher,", at least as far as my professional life is concerned, it must be on account of the following. First, I have coauthored, with Neven Sesardić, an allegedly “controversial” article criticizing the view that women are systematically discriminated against in philosophy. 1 Second, I have defended immigration restrictions out of a concern for cultural preservation, which probably places me to the right of libertarians in philosophy. 2 Combine these two facts with my sympathetic treatment, in various articles, of conservative authors such as Michael Polanyi and Roger Scruton, my persistent interest in art conservation, my Catholic educational background, and, perhaps relatedly, my defense of presentism, and what starts to emerge is a picture of a young, ambitious man who can barely hide his conservatism. But, assuming that this picture is accurate, why would I be conservative? Am I perhaps a “rich Catholic boy”(an expression Brian Leiter once used to refer to Brett Kavanaugh), 3 fearful of losing the privileges bestowed on me by the prevailing culture, so that I have decided to do everything in my power to conserve it? To be honest, that suggestion is not far from the truth. But it is far less incriminating than may be thought at first, for the privileges that I am most eager to retain—or, as the case may be, regain—are privileges that can in principle be shared with others, and at no cost. They are, in economic terms, non-rivalrous. For example, they include the privilege of living in a society in which law and order prevail. As this example already helps to make clear, there may be very good objective reasons for being concerned about the preservation of such goods. In fact, spelling out those reasons is one of my aims in this chapter. My main aim, however, is to show that those reasons also help to justify immigration restrictions. Hence, in what follows, I attempt to explain why cultural preservation is important, and, in particular, why it is important enough to justify immigration restrictions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDissident Philosophers : Voices Against the Political Current of the Academy
EditorsT. Allan HILLMAN, Tully BORLAND
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
ISBN (Electronic)9781538159057
ISBN (Print)9781538159040
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 2022


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