The Unhappy Liberal

…The Italian and American examples, meanwhile, are a reminder that even in liberalism’s Western heartlands, people want order and meaningful communion. They seek order, in the sense that they want to have a say in who gets to enjoy the privileges of citizenship. A chaotic immigration system is an offense against good order. They long for meaningful community, because community makes possible a common life and a shared vision of the common good. As the classically liberal French philosopher Pierre Manent told me last year, humanity-at-large cannot provide meaningful community because it is “too large and too diverse.”

These aren’t earthshaking ideas yet, among today’s liberals, they come across that way. Today’s liberalism is disoriented–and disorienting–because it no longer has a sense of its own limits.

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