Magazine October 5, 2020, Issue

In Defense of Proceduralism

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What today’s post-liberals risk losing

An emerging strand of anti- or post-liberal thought has set off an important debate on America’s political right. These critics often charge that classical liberalism, which a number of us have considered foundational to American conservative thinking, fetishizes individual autonomy. That leads, the argument goes, to personal atomization, social aimlessness, and cultural decadence. Many of these critics would prefer a political system that prioritizes solidarity, stability, and a particular vision of the common good over individual freedom.

I think the more extreme of these post-liberal arguments risk undermining the invaluable philosophical progress made over centuries in elevating citizens above the state.

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Andy SmarickMr. Smarick is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his work focuses on education, civil society, and the principles of American conservatism.

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The Week

The Week

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi was photographed in a San Francisco hair salon, in violation of local lockdown rules, her defense was . . . interesting.

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