gruel

Francis Fukuyama:

Liberalism deliberately lowered the horizon of politics: A liberal state will not tell you how to live your life, or what a good life entails; how you pursue happiness is up to you. This produces a vacuum at the core of liberal societies, one that often gets filled by consumerism or pop culture or other random activities that do not necessarily lead to human flourishing. This has been the critique of a group of (mostly) Catholic intellectuals including Patrick Deneen, Sohrab Ahmari, Adrian Vermeule, and others, who feel that liberalism offers “thin gruel” for anyone with deeper moral commitments.

It is indeed “thin gruel” — it is meant to be, on the understanding that the real banquet is being prepared and served by other elements and institutions of our social order. If those other institutions are not doing their jobs, then liberalism will not do it for them. To recognize that the Church has manifestly failed to be the Church and in response to decree that therefore it should be the State instead — that’s the logic of integralism.