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Democracy and the Demonization of the Good

From Experimental Theology by Richard Beck.

A thought balloon about our current political situation.

In After Virtue Alasdair MacIntyre makes the argument that because modernity lost its story, to use the words of Robert Jenson, we lack a coherent moral vision of our common life together. What we have, instead, are bits and pieces of a variety of incomplete and rival ethical systems. We have lots of different ways of defining “the good” but no clear way to adjudicate between these goods when they come into conflict.

Here’s the outcome of this situation.

First, modern political discourse repeatedly brings rival goods into conflict. For example, in the abortion debates protecting life (a good thing) is pitted against the right to make decisions about your own body (a good thing). Two goods pitted against each other.

Regarding the debates about refugees and immigration, a concern over caring for the vulnerable (a good thing) is pitted against a concern for safety (a good thing). Two goods pitted against each other.

The examples abound. Pick any political controversy and you’ll eventually find two goods pitted against each other. Read further here.

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