Liberal neutrality

"Sure, liberalism claims and even aims to be neutral, but that doesn't entail that it really is or ever could be. To think that the mere existence of one's intention to be neutral guarantees that one really is neutral is not only a fallacy, but an especially dangerous one -- it makes the one beholden to it blind to his own biases." -- Edward Feser


  1. This is true, but the more important question about liberalism, to my mind, isn't whether it's neutral or whether neutrality is desirable, but whether liberal non-neutrality is more conducive to peace---at least in our time and place---than other kinds of commitment are. A liberalism that stops sects from killing one another, if even it's not neutral about their metaphysical claims, is still a liberalism that's doing what it's supposed to do.

    Assuming it actually does reduce violence, of course.

    I've encountered Christian conservatives who want a Christian politics that can do roughly what liberalism is supposed to do. The problem is that as they articulate it, it tends to look a lot like liberalism (in its broadest, or perhaps earliest, outlines). Except no abortion, no gay marriage. There's something spurious about the whole exercise, as if liberal Christians can't admit how liberal they really are. I'm not saying this of Feser, by the way, it's just a tangent to the question of liberalism's job and whether there's really much demand for a substitute.

    1. Dan, there is no plausible alternative to liberalism on the table at present, I agree.

      I am a MacIntyrean in this regard: we have to hunker down and found the modern equivalent of monasteries, cause the dark ages they's a comin'!