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But human life and human longings are precious. And, contrary to the caricature of liberal capitalism retailed on the nation’s opinion pages, those longings include more than the desire for blue jeans and consumer electronics. Man does not, in fact, live by bread alone-at least when allowed to choose how to live.
Religion, art, and science flourish best in a free society. True, freedom does not afford much opportunity for grand gestures. It has little room for martyrs. But life is not supposed to be about dying well. It is about living well.
And liberalism, for its part, is all about protecting the freedom to live life without grand gestures. It gives people the chance to be good without being heroic. It creates space for individuals to find meaning outside the common good.
That intelligent people can find the ordinary lives of men and women meaningless without the greater context of ideological struggle is some measure of the price that struggle has exacted. We have much rebuilding to do.