The Corner

Politics & Policy

Is There Less Than Meets the Eye to the Common Good v. Liberty Debate?

The coronavirus crisis has emphatically not been a clarifying moment in the great Common-Good Conservatism versus Liberty-Oriented Conservatism debate. A lot of the common-good people, when asked to sacrifice for the common good during a pandemic by social distancing, have been saying, “What about my rights, dammit? What about my liberty?” Meanwhile, many conservative writers who have been vehemently opposed to the common-good conservatives have reacted to calls for re-opening up quickly by saying, “But we must consider the common good.” Of course, there’s something to be said for both impulses, and where you come down on any given issue often depends on the answers to various prudential questions. It’s almost as if the common good and liberty, virtue and freedom, are all important and conservatives should always seek to balance them.



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