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Nightfall for Liberalism? by Richard John Neuhaus

 

George Parkin Grant: English­ Speaking Justice; Notre Dame; $4.95 paper.

 

"Liberalism in its generic form is surely something that all decent men accept as good-'conservatives' included. Insofar as the word 'liberalism' is used to describe the belief that political liberty is a central human good, it is difficult for me to consider as sane those who would deny that they are liberals." In this spirited fashion, George Parkin Grant launches us upon a brief but painfully lucid examination of why liberal democracy may have reached the end of its tether.

Grant may be Canada's major public philosopher, but his work, to our great' loss, is almost unknown south of the border. In this essay he argues that we in the English-speaking democracies have become incapable of intellectually defending the liberty that we affirm. And, at bottom, we cannot defend it intellectually because in modern modes of reasoning we have no place for moral judgment. That this is the case is evident in our floundering about in search of a definition of justice, the primary public virtue. And, of course, nobody flounders more energetically than John Rawls of A Theory of Justice. One of the chief merits of Grant's little book is its incisive critique...

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