Notes on Confusion

Notes on Confusion

I spent a good part of my summer reading cures for liberalism. One prescribed a limited but activist government; another a colorblind, egalitarian nationalism; others an affirmation of democratic universalism, a revival of civic republicanism, a program of economic populism, or a judicious mix of autonomy, diversity, and solidarity. I agreed with them—all of them, even ones that contradicted others or were self-contradictory. In public philosophy anything seems possible, so in the reading such books can be completely persuasive, but afterward tend to melt away, like daydreams in the afternoon heat, leaving you groping to remember the verbal formula that had been so reassuring just a short time ago.

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Lima