Podium: The Flaws in the New World Order Robert Skidelsky from a `Prospect' Lecture by the Conservative Peer and Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick
Skidelsky, Robert, The Independent (London, England)
ONE OF the oldest divides in politics is between the moralists and the prudentialists. Moralists have a passion to make the crooked path of humanity straight; prudentialists to make the best of an inherently imperfect world. I know that prudence is itself a moral virtue, and moralists are also capable of discarding the sandals of the preacher for the clogs of the politician. But the basic divide goes back at least to biblical times. The New Testament calls the two sides the "children of light" and the "children of this world".
Both moralists and prudentialists indulge in dreams of a single world. Moralists often think of this in terms of a new world order, a world united by a common set of principles or "norms". Prudentialists typically think of the world growing together through commerce, the movement of peoples, the gradual encroachment of ideas.
The moralist perspective leads naturally to world government; prudentialists are strongly suspicious of Utopian projects, and they have biblical support. As Jesus Christ said: "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light". This division of outlook helps explain why it is possible to have two views of Nato's war in Yugoslavia. As you may have gathered, I am a prudentialist. This does not mean I have a partiality for Milosevic. It does mean that I believe that the Balkans, and the world, would be better off if this war had never taken place. At the moment, the moralists are in the ascendant. Nato's resolve has been vindicated; Milosevic has capitulated. Would-be tyrants have been shown that crime does not pay. Air power works! But look again: Kosovo has been "cleansed" of 850,000 extra Albanian Kosovars since the start of a war intended to prevent a humanitarian disaster. They will have to be returned to a devastated territory or resettled. The bills for military occupation and reconstruction will be vast. "Globalisation," says the Prime Minister, "is not just economic. It is also a political and security phenomenon. We live in a world where isolationism has ceased to have a reason to exist. We are all internationalists now. We …
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Publication information: Article title: Podium: The Flaws in the New World Order Robert Skidelsky from a `Prospect' Lecture by the Conservative Peer and Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. Contributors: Skidelsky, Robert - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: June 22, 1999. Page number: 4. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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