The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Weekend reading: defending the liberal project in an age of post-truth politics
Just a quick post to recommend a few short pieces on the need to defend (and the difficulty of defending) the liberal project of sustaining a pluralistic society of free and responsible individuals.
- Will Wilkinson, "Revitalizing Liberalism in the Age of Brexit and Trump"
- Jacob T. Levy, "Authoritarianism and Post-Truth Politics"
- Conor Friedersdorf, "How Stigma Sows the Seeds of Its Own Defeat"
- Preston Stovall, "On the Role of the Public Intellectual in the United States"
And on this general subject, here's F.A. Hayek from "The Constitution of Liberty":
If old truths are to retain their hold on men's minds, they must be restated in the language and concepts of successive generations. What at one time are their most effective expressions gradually become so worn with use that they cease to carry a definite meaning. The underlying ideas may be as valid as ever, but the words, even when they refer to problems that are still with us, no longer convey the same conviction; the arguments do not move in a context familiar to us; and they rarely give us direct answers to the questions we are asking. This may be inevitable because no statement of an ideal that is likely to sway men's minds can be complete: it must be adapted to a given climate of opinion, presuppose much that is accepted by all men of the time, and illustrate general principles in terms of issues with which they are concerned.
The challenge to articulate and defend liberal principles is as great as ever.