Defending Liberalism Against the Anomie Challenge

Social Theory and Practice 30 (3):391-427 (2004)
Abstract
Some claim that liberalism’s neutrality toward the Good encourages anomie, thereby disallowing social confirmation of beliefs, leaving the individual with an uncertainty about judgments that is opposed to confidence and self-respect. This is the “anomie challenge.” I begin by discussing toleration and neutrality and motivating the problem. I then look at responses to the challenge by liberal pluralists and liberalism’s critics. After dismissing both, I argue that the right to choose is the good to be advocated and that it allows for supportive, but voluntary, social structures. I conclude that liberalism better supports self-respect than the alternatives
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