Thursday, November 23, 2017

Quote of the day

Passage of the day, really, by Ramesh Ponnuru:

All liberals believe that governments must obey limits in what they can do to individuals, that people should be free to speak their minds, that the law must be impartial, and so on. But liberalisms differentiate themselves in why they champion these beliefs. There is a liberalism that takes the French Enlightenment to be the beginning of all political wisdom and takes our political task essentially to be working out its implications and applying them to all of human life. This progressive liberalism frequently sets itself at odds with traditional religious believers and even, as in the French Revolution, persecutes them. The liberalism of Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and the Federalist Papers is very different. It sees free institutions as a cultural achievement won from experience: a set of practices that centuries of trial and error — many trials, much error — have taught us are more conducive than any others we have found to human flourishing. The distinction between these forms of liberalism, which we might call progressive and conservative respectively, is lost on many people.

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