liberalism and pluralism

But let me enter a suggestion as a conclusion. Liberalism should have the confidence to tolerate institutions, even large ones, that have competing and contrary missions to those of the state. The very liberality of the managerial state is guaranteed by real diversity, not just of skin color and sexual preference, but of religion and values, too.

Real pluralism preserves the possibility of critique emerging within a liberal state. The interplay of individuals and diverse institutions encourages liberality and understanding at the ground level of citizenship — the gratitude for people very different from you who are still very solicitous of your needs. Whereas the strict ideological hen-pecking of the state creates a kind of existential dread, and intensifies the panic of the culture war — the fear that a loss on principle in one case, is the loss of all power and recourse in the future. Legislators and jurists would do best to retain these two essential liberal values, by finding solutions that deftly avoid setting them against each other.

Michael Brendan Dougherty