July 07, 2014
Anderson on the "Right to Be Wrong" and Hadley Arkes
This piece, by Ryan Anderson ("The Right to Be Wrong") is definitely worth a read. He is, among other things, responding to an argument that Hadley Arkes pressed in First Things and elsewhere to the effect that religious-liberty advocates (e.g., the lawyers representing entities challenging the contraception-coverage mandate under RFRA) are wrongly presuming/arguing that religious liberty is about "belief" and that there is a "right" to act in accord with religious beliefs even if those beliefs are wrong. (Ryan's title is taken from Seamus Hasson's book, The Right To Be Wrong, which I reviewed several years ago here.) A number of other commentators -- some have called them Catholic "anti-liberals" -- have made arguments like Hadley's, and I hope they will read Ryan's response. At the very least, it would be a good thing if those pressing the critique that Arkes has been pressing would distinguish between (a) philosophical and theological arguments about the Truth of the Matter and (b) the arguments that are made, and appropriately made, given the givens about the current positive-law landscape, in order to secure the space necessary for religious freedom, correctly understood, to be execised.