Hitchcock_Review
Reviews

Primal Existentialism

This is an important and optimistic book, and the fact that it has been published by a major secular publishing house perhaps bears out the author's thesis that Western culture is ripe for a major spiritual revival.

On one level, After Ideology is another statement of the now familiar "bankruptcy of secular liberalism" idea that has been current for a long time. David Walsh, who is a professor of political thought at the Catholic University of America, argues persuasively that liberalism, by weakening the moral basis of humanity, has undercut its own foundation. Liberalism asserts an expanding list of personal "rights" without being able to state why such rights are important, and whence they derive. At the same time as it attempts to expand the scope of "human dignity," liberalism also moves with equal determination to deny or "demythologize" traditional beliefs about the spiritual nature of humanity, which alone make that dignity possible.

In Walsh's view, the gap between democratic liberalism and totalitarianism is by no means as wide as is conventionally thought, since both deny fundamental spiritual reality. But Walsh thinks that most statements of this dilemma, such as Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue, fall short because they make merely theoretical statements of the problem, asserting premises that do not persuade the skeptic. What is needed now...

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