Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Defining "Liberal"

Two days after we wrote that there wasn't mch reason to try, somebody tried anyway.  People just don't listen.

Per this Slate review, Alan Wolfe has written a book on the subject, arguing that "the key to liberalism is a set of [seven] dispositions, or habits of mind":

Four of these dispositions will be quite familiar: "a sympathy for equality," "an inclination to deliberate," "a commitment to tolerance," and "an appreciation of openness." We're used to the portrayal: liberals as talky, tolerant, open-minded, egalitarians. It's not surprising, then, that these types are at home in the garrulous world of the academy—or that bossy preachers, convinced they have the one true story, do not care for them much. But Wolfe's sketch of the liberal adds three unfamiliar elements to the picture: "a disposition to grow," "a preference for realism," and "a taste for governance."

Well. Fine. But where's the room for "liberal" economic theory? All of which goes back to our point the other day.  And anyway, who're you calling bossy?

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