Building Common Ground: Going Beyond the Liberal Conundrum

Ethics and International Affairs 27 (2):119-127 (2013)
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Abstract

Liberalism as a political ideology and a philosophical doctrine has championed individual autonomy, social and political equality, and democratic and inclusive political institutions. Consequently, liberalism is known for its commitment to tolerance and value pluralism. Yet liberalism has been critiqued for being insensitive to claims of culture. Indeed, an attitude of benign neglect toward diversity was once quite common among liberals, as was a general lack of interest in global concerns. Worse yet, according to some critics the liberal tradition—in spite of its purported liberating mission of autonomy and self-determination —has provided the rationale for imperialism rooted in the liberal assumptions about reason and historical progress. Though these ironies are a clear source of embarrassment for today's liberals, liberalism still displays an uneasy commitment to pluralism. Liberals today are more challenged than ever to look at the dynamics of diversity both at home and abroad.

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