Neuhaus's Liberalism

Damon Linker of The New Republic, and Ross Douthat of The Atlantic are having a good discussion on the particular view of American liberal tradition that was at the core of Fr. Neuhaus' patriotic defense of religion and his strong voice for the 'culture of life' in America.

...Neuhaus argued that the American constitutional order, and the form of liberalism it embodies, "is premised upon moral truths secured by religion," to quote from his essay on John Paul II and the liberal tradition. Moreover, he believed that the modern left's emphasis on the separation of religion and politics (as opposed to church and state) ran toward illiberalism, and that the left-wing promotion of legalized abortion and euthanasia amounted to a frontal assault on essentially liberal principles - human rights and human dignity and so forth. These are not uncontroversial views, to put it mildly, and they certainly made him a conservative in the modern political landscape. But they are views have deep roots in Anglo-American political history - the notion that liberalism's basic premises depend in some sense upon religion, in particular, is as old as Hobbes and Locke - and as such they properly belong within the big tent of the American liberal tradition, rather than outside it...

..This is the great theoconservative shell game...

(h/t Jonah Goldberg)

These are the kinds of discussions that America needs more of.

Meanwhile the tributes to Fr. Neuhaus keep coming....


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