Newtown and the Liberal Virtues

by Daniel Foster

My modest contribution to the Newtown debate has just gone live. I’ve found the massacre more difficult — by orders of magnitude — to think and write about than pretty much anything else. Robert and Charlie and the Editors have said most of what I would have wanted to say, about human nature, the constitution, and guns. But I’ve noticed a recurring feature in the left-of-center response to Newtown, even among folks on the other side I consider smart and thoughtful. Namely, a casual abandonment of what are supposed to be three cardinal virtues of liberalism: pragmatism, empiricism, and empathy. So that was my topic.