I love(!) this e-mail. Hopefully I can offer a thoughtful response later today (I’m heading for Amtrak to head up to New York (doing Daily Show and a lot else today):
I’m enjoying the book (I’m to the village of Hallmarkcardia), but wonder a bit on your characterization of Hegel. From the book I would understand Hegel as one of the more important philosophical advocates of a total state. But while I’m no scholar my impression from other readings is that Hegel is using state not in the sense of political entity but in a more abstract sense of everything that comprises a nation, its culture, morality, history, etc. Freedom by being in sync with the state is more like being in harmony. Cary Grant at a party is in the Hegelian sense free.
“It is clear from his interpretation of the Philosophy of Right that Oakeshott sees Hegel as his true predecessor and that he conceives On Human Conduct as in large measure a restatement of Hegel’s political philosophy. But Oakeshott is not uncritical of Hegel….He calls the Philosophy of Right a ‘dreadfully miscellaneous piece of writing.’….He even criticizes Hegel for using the word Staat to designate the ideal mode of association he is trying to theorize, since it blurs the distinction between this ideal, and the ambiguous, contingent, historic state.”
— The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott, Paul Franco, page 209, paragraph 2
While this obviously isn’t critical to your argument, and does perhaps point to at least some of the difficulties inherent in drawing links between various thinkers.
I’d be interested in your comments. Also, I hope you can line something up for Chicago, I’d like to come out and hear you speak.