Pluralism and the Politics of the Good

A Trump supporter holds an American flag at a rally in Madison, Ala., February 2016. (Marvin Gentry/Reuters)
A politics stripped of the good might be unable to sustain the intellectual and cultural capital that makes a “liberal” regime possible in the first place.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he disputes that erupted after the Sohrab Ahmari-David French exchange cover a lot of territory — too much to begin to summarize. But they have illuminated a broader debate about the fate of “liberalism,” (itself a disputed term), in particular, a tension between procedural accounts of political life and substantive accounts of the political good. Some liberals and critics of liberalism hold that a “liberal” society requires a value-neutral public square. (Other critics of liberalism argue that, far from being a neutral worldview, “liberalism” itself smuggles certain values into the public square.) This is one of the reasons why Ahmari’s