Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Friday, May 03, 2002
 
Interesting piece in The Wilson Quarterly by Peter Berkowitz on John Rawls and his belated admission that the ultimate grounds of his philosophy is some version of natural religion. I've blogged on this subject at length before, in response to an article by Stephen L. Carter in First Things. I continue to believe that while liberalism can be reconstructed along natural-religion lines (as in the Declaration of Independence: "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights," etc. etc. - none of this makes much sense if you deny the existence of a creator or a creation) this may not be the best route to go, because it only highlights but does not diffuse the inherent conflict between fundamentalist liberalism and traditional religion - and thereby provokes fundamentalist religion. The alternative, in my view, is to reconstruct liberalism as merely a "good idea" rather than a necessary deduction from the nature of reality. This is a version of pragmatism: we should have a liberal society because liberalism works. Such a pragmatic, skeptical liberalism would have an easier time accepting that it depends institutionally - though not ideologically - on prior institutions, such as the family and religion, that are responsible for the propagation of individuals who can live in ordered liberty. I get the feeling, from the article, that Berkowitz might have some sympathy for my point of view.