Friday, March 2, 2018
I have to admit, when I first clicked on, and then started reading, this review of Clare Chambers's Against Marriage (OUP 2017), I was confident that it was a kind of Larry-Solum-level-genius parody of contemporary Rawlsian political-liberalism moves. Alas, it's not. Both the review (and, assuming the review is accurate, the book) take what I can only regard as a dangerous, even tyrannical turn. For example, "Chapter 6 distinguishes the marriage-free state from the marriage-free society and considers the circumstances under which the state might be justified in intervening in private marriages. Here Chambers clearly distinguishes her own position from a libertarian one by focusing on the state's role in preventing harm to vulnerable populations and to ensuring discriminatory practices are prohibited in the private sector." And, "[t]he latter chapter balances the need to protect women's (and children's) rights with the need to protect religious freedom, deftly arguing that religious freedom cannot include the right of religious leaders to discriminate against members of their own religion." Is this really what's coming? Is this what "liberalism" is coming to (or, perhaps, as Patrick Deneen would argue, it's always what it was or was on the way to becoming).