Andrew Sullivan’s critique of Liberalism

In February, Andrew Sullivan, author of the Daily Dish blog at The Atlantic, made a speech at Princeton in February in titled “The Politics of Homosexuality”.  On Friday, a it was posted on YouTube in eight segments spanning a bit more than an hour, starting here.

I would recommend watching the whole thing, but one of the more interesting segments to me, as a student at a very liberal college, is his critique of “liberalism” as he defines it for the purpose of this talk:

Though I would consider myself to be someone with a generally liberal disposition, I find this critique of the process of creating protected classes within private society and the regulation of speech to be quite powerful.  I will say, however, that this critique is context-dependent, and in particular, dependent upon a proper culture of public discourse and public association.

It is indeed possible for free speech to be trampled within a society without government involvement as well as for minorities to find such strong nongovernmental opposition as to be unable to defend themselves.  That said, in my nonexpert opinion, I believe that the United States as it is now is a country that has sufficient levels of both free discourse and peaceful association that Sullivan’s critiques should be heeded on this topic.

Furthermore, and this is a broader point, the arguments he critiques are only a limited portion of the possible idea space on this topic, so accepting all of his critiques would not mandate an acceptance of his final position.  That said, I’m generally in favor of Sullivan’s conclusion that homosexuals should be an integral part of society and not a separate class.  The question becomes: Will our country reach this vision?


About Meng Bomin

Real name Benjamin Main, I am a graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in Biological Chemistry.
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