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Political Theory

In Praise of ‘Wishy-Washy’ Liberalism

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Political liberals – and there is a growing band of them around the world – very often get on your nerves. And it makes them so very easy to mock.

For instance, liberals find it very difficult to handle the problem or the reality of evil. When they see evil in action they have to find some sociological explanation for it. For instance, if you are watching a movie or a television story put together by liberals, you will notice that every evil character has either been abused as a child or has endured poverty.  And you wonder, what about all those who went through those unfortunate experiences and still turned out to be upstanding members of society?

Liberals also have difficulties coming to terms with the reality of violence and propensities to violence. Confronted with violence they are often perplexed. They wonder aloud: Why can’t we all simply get along? Someone punches a liberal in the nose and he asks: ‘You seem upset about something; do you want to talk about it?’

I exaggerate for effect but you can see why you have the popular caricature of the arugula eating, latte drinking, hybrid-car-driving liberal…a somewhat effete and ludicrous character.

Beyond The Reign of Reason?

Sina Odugbemi's picture

In liberal political and constitutional thought, the passions are feared and often decried. The constant appeal is to reason: rational thought, rational debate, and rational solutions to problems. Even in the work that we do in CommGAP, the ideas we are committed to include: 

1) Rational debate and discussion in the public sphere (inclusive and democratic) focusing on the leading challenges facing the political community; and

2) Informed public opinion arrived at through a process of open debate and discussion, where relevant information is available to citizens, and all sides to the issue are fully canvassed by proponents. In all that, the appeal is to reason.