Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Pluralist game

This is how it works. The political liberal, unable to win much support for the goodness of the activity he wants permitted, makes this suggestion to his adversaries: why don’t we let each individual decide for himself whether or not he wants to do X? His doing X does not affect you, since the state is not forcing you do to X. So this is a perfectly neutral position consistent with individual liberty. By permitting others to do X, you are not approving of X. All you are doing is allowing each person to choose to do or not do X.

Fr. Canavan makes the point that the pluralist game is a sort of bait and switch. The pluralist promises neutrality in exchange for your support, but winds up giving you something far different than what he promised. You are forced to acquiesce to a set of beliefs that are, in fact, hostile to what you believe. They become over time part of the unquestioned infrastructure of our public life, and thus make it more difficult for you and your dissenting compatriots to live consistently with what you believe about the nature of the good life.

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