28 July 2006

What True Liberalism Really Wants

There is a stunning article in this week's Church Times by The Revd Dr. Giles Fraser entitled 'What True Liberalism Really Wants". (link here)

As a lecturer in philosophy, Fraser is able to provide a philosophical background to frame liberalism in a much more responsible way than the traditional caricature we hear of 'no standards, do what feels good'.

For me, the 'sound bite' to the article is the following:
Liberty is an important principle in so far as it protects human beings from those who are convinced they know best; those who are convinced they always know the truth. Liberal freedom is not wilful self-assertiveness: it is an insurance policy against dangerous bullies who believe they have God on their side.
This is what liberalism is for me. Not the selfish, self-seeking, no-standards model that so many people tell us we are advocating. Unquestioning obedience to a supreme authority is fine as long as the supreme authority is benign or loving. But how many people have the moral fortitude and character to resist thinking that they are demigods when given supreme authority? Not many.

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