Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Pursuit of Felicitas": A Defense of the Liberal State

This piece, by Andrew Latham, is well worth a read.  Here's a bit:

In recent years, conservative Aristotelian-Thomists like Patrick Deneen and Alasdair MacIntyre have made the argument that a moral philosophy entailing a substantive account of human happiness or fulfillment is simply incompatible with the American liberal-democratic political order. They are convinced that America’s foundational liberal philosophical principles are in their very DNA corrosive of the traditions and institutions necessary for the realization of final ends inherent in human nature.

While there may have been a time in our history when liberalism and eudaimonism could fruitfully coexist in the United States, they argue, that time has long passed. In the current “postliberal” era, liberalism’s core commitments to “anthropological individualism” and the historicity of human “nature” have evolved to the point where they have rendered liberalism not only incompatible with eudaimonism but positively hostile to it.

While on balance I share many of these concerns, I think the liberal state deserves continued support for one simple reason: In my judgment, the full working out of the liberal principles that Deneen, MacIntyre, and I find so problematic has not yet progressed to the point where the liberal state has decisively mutated into a postliberal behemoth bent on imposing its liberal values on all its subjects. There are firewalls, institutional and philosophical, that continue to check the unfolding of this historical process, and Americans in particular continue to enjoy enormous freedom to pursue their final ends as they understand them. . . .

I am inclined to agree.  But, read the whole thing . . . 

https://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2015/11/pursuit-of-felicitas-a-defense-of-the-liberal-state.html

Garnett, Rick | Permalink