What is this blog about?

What is this blog about?

I am a political philosopher. My 'political philosophy' is a form of 'liberal egalitarianism.' So in this blog I reflect on various issues in political philosophy and politics (especially Canadian and American politics) from a liberal egalitarian perspective.

If you are curious about what I mean by 'liberal egalitarianism,' my views are strongly influenced by the conception of justice advanced by John Rawls. (So I sometimes refer to myself as a 'Rawlsian,' even though I disagree with Rawls on some matters.)

Astonishingly, I am paid to write and teach moral and political philosophy. I somehow manage to do this despite my akratic nature. Here is my faculty profile.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Liberal democracy in a darkening world

There are some interesting observations from Joe Heath (Philosophy, University of Toronto) on the US election in his recent post at In Due Course.

This comment especially troubled me:
"Perhaps I am overreacting, but I do feel as though yesterday was one of those moments, like the fall of the Berlin Wall, that alters the trajectory of civilization. That’s because the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. Presidency is deeply discrediting to Western-style democracy. In fact, I think the big winner, globally, from Tuesday’s election, is Chinese-style authoritarianism."
I think that the possibility that what happened on Tuesday will be perceived in the way that Heath describes is a real danger. It reminded me of the following observation by John Rawls:
"If we take for granted as common knowledge that a just and well-ordered society is impossible, then the quality and tone of [political] discussions will reflect that knowledge. A cause of the fall of Weimar’s constitutional regime was that none of the traditional elites of Germany supported its constitution or were willing to cooperate to make it work. They no longer believed a decent liberal parliamentary regime to be possible. Its time had past." 
(From the Preface to the paperback edition of Political Liberalism [my emphasis].)

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