Bryan Van Norden
Yale-NUS College
acedo's article is the first of five in a "Symposium on Citizenship, Democracy, and Education." Macedo follows Rawls (especially Political Liberalism [Columbia University Press, 1993]) in distinguishing "political liberalism" (PL) from "comprehensive liberalism" (CL), and advocating the former. CL defends liberalism based on "a comprehensive liberal ideal of life as a whole centered on autonomy or individuality." (Amy Gutmann and John Dewey are offered as examples of such liberals.) In contrast, PL tries to "put aside such matters as religious truth and the ultimate ideals of human perfection and attempt to justify at least the most basic matters of justice on grounds widely acceptable to reasonable people . . . " (p. 473). Macedo also stresses that PL is distinct from the "politics of difference" (allegedly defended by William Galston in an article in the same symposium), which advocates maximum diversity for its own sake. A "political liberalism with spine" will rule some things out (p. 470).
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