In Conversation with Fukuyama and Deneen
This reminds me of Ernst Böckenförde's famous paradox: "the liberal, secularised state is nourished by presuppositions that it cannot itself guarantee." When he wrote that in 1967, he acknowledged that in its awareness of its dependence on pre-liberal tradition, the liberal state was gambling its survival, for it dared not try to guarantee those traditional presuppositions for then it would abandon its liberal character. Solidarity cannot be legislated in the liberal state. So the breakdown feared by Böckenförde has arrived. Maddened by a toxic vision of equality (as Levy notes) we have finally thrown off the old presuppositions, and now act only in self interest, merrily turning our "rights" against one another as weapons, as Habermas himself (reflecting on the Böckenförde paradox in 2005) worried might happen. The meltdown has been cooking for a long time, and we are not the first to see it coming.
Careful. If you discount examples of flourishing under liberalism simply because pre-liberal traditions remain, critics of your postliberalism will discount examples of its flourishing because liberal traditions still remain.
Excellent piece. Thank you.
I'm late to reading this, but I had a more existential question I suppose about the below quote. My question is about discontentment. From a Christ-centered worldview, the believer in Jesus will acknowledge that in this world we will always be discontent (John 16:33). Is there a context here one should acknowledge, that discontentment will exist no matter what "order" there is to society? Or is the liberal order truly not the best one, and there is some order that brings us closer (yet not perfectly) into alignment with God's will for society?
"They are evidently attempting to vent a discontent with our liberal order that is not adequately rooted in the moral principles they’re consistently willing to acknowledge."