Tuesday, April 05, 2005

"In Disunity There is Strength"

A great column today by David Brooks of the New York Times (you have to register to access it - it's free). Brooks believes that modern liberalism, formed in goverment, has not had an adequate public philosophy debate and, thus, has not developed a public philosophy to captivate the electorate. Money quote:

Liberals have not had a comparable (to Conservatives) public philosophy debate. A year ago I called the head of a prominent liberal think tank to ask him who his favorite philosopher was. If I'd asked about health care, he could have given me four hours of brilliant conversation, but on this subject he stumbled and said he'd call me back. He never did.

Liberals are less conscious of public philosophy because modern liberalism was formed in government, not away from it. In addition, liberal theorists are more influenced by post-modernism, multiculturalism, relativism, value pluralism and all the other influences that dissuade one from relying heavily on dead white guys.

As a result, liberals are good at talking about rights, but not as good at talking about a universal order.

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