Illiberalism Will Not Secure the Common Good

"MacIntyre’s thesis about human dignity has attracted the attention of certain thinkers who have been pushing a new political vision for conservatives." - Law & Liberty

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Aaron Blumer's picture


The argument between classical liberalism and post-liberal integralism is a bit complex... but it's extremely important right now. A bit more may help draw readers in?

Liberal thinkers insist that citizens must be guaranteed a right to a fair trial, to appoint and hold their leaders accountable, to fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience, with rights to public protest and assembly without fear of punishment or imprisonment, to rule of law that applies equally to officials of all stripes and is applied consistently. We have discovered, in hindsight, that the common good requires that the individual be protected from the overreach of government in many of the ways that classical liberal political theory outlined above. 

Illiberals claim that their approach respects human rights more effectively by protecting rights understood in light of communitarian necessities, as opposed to what they see as a ‘liberal’ project of privileging individual interests over the common good. But this is questionable on two counts. 

For what it's worth, I've seen some overreactions to post-liberal integralism, but I'm convinced the classical liberals have it mostly right. You don't have to always like the outcomes of freedom to uphold the value of freedom.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.