A Deeper Freedom: Liberal Democracy as an Everyday Morality by Charles W. Anderson

By Charles W. Anderson

"An eloquent safety of liberal democracy, no longer lots as summary philosophy yet as a fashion of life." ."—Jean Bethke Elshtain, collage of Chicago, writer of Democracy on Trial this present day those that think in liberal democracy needs to reexamine and reaffirm their commitments. the following, Charles Anderson probes our pressing issues and questions. Even those that think that liberal democracy is the simplest type of govt might imagine that liberal individualism results in selfishness, permissiveness, and irresponsibility. Many could educate a cultural or spiritual counter-ethic to offset the excesses of freedom. Grounding his view in vintage philosophic and spiritual beliefs, Anderson argues deeper imaginative and prescient of individuality and freedom can result in either a legitimate public philosophy and a necessary own ethic. within the similar manner that we as people try and comprehend our position in nature and the cosmos, Anderson seeks to appreciate how we, as particular members, can comprehend our position between our fellow people. starting with friendship and love, he extends his inquiry to the relationships of training, neighborhood, paintings, and democracy. Anderson indicates how the common wish of loose humans to discover which means in relationships with each other may end up in intensity and fullness either in deepest and public lifestyles.

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Everyone knows that the moments of insight come, if they come at all, in sidelong glimpses, glancing illuminations, in the midst of doing all sorts of other things. To be sure, awareness is most likely to come to those who are prepared for it, to those who are looking in the right direction. But awareness is not a constant state for anybody. ) And foreseeing to whom it will come is quite difWcult. Awareness is not the prerogative of any class or profession. The elites, those who have been specially prepared and nurtured, may fail to grasp the point at the moment of truth, while the rank amateur may seize it.

It is, perhaps, not morally wrong to be incoherent. It is simply not helpful. All we have to offer is the sense that we are able to make to the others. And we depend on 28 / Part I. Philosophy the others, all the others, for generations and generations back to the beginning, for the sense that we will make of ourselves and the world. We live to pass meaning along. Our work is a work of discovery, of trying to get behind the surfaces, trying to Wnd out a little more about how things actually are and trying to get a clearer sense of what we really should be doing.

Perhaps this starkly individualist picture of how life is to be lived is not at all what we intend. Perhaps it is not a logical implication of liberal political theory at all. It may be an accidental, 35 36 / Part II. Individuality indeed regrettable, by-product of the way that liberal political theory deals with the problem of truth. Classically, liberalism achieved its “self-evidence” as an entailment of our skepticism, our doubt. If our Wnal view of the human situation is that no mortal philosopher kings exist, that neither a speciWed elite nor the community by consensus can reveal the meaning of our existence and our Wnal purposes on Earth, if these things are in fact forever shrouded in mystery—which is, indeed, what both our secular and our religious traditions insist—then individuals must, of necessity, deWne their meanings and their purposes for themselves.

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