There is an ongoing conflict in countries such as Canada, the USA and Britain. The widely held values of social liberalism (Protection of Basic Liberties, Equality of Opportunity, Progress as a goal, issue based politics) have been challenged by a newer form of Liberalism that has a different set of values (A recognition of oppression as a primary ill, the desire to redress past ills, the concern that all institutions and societal are tainted by bias, the questioning of progress, the importance of culture, religion and identity as the primary drivers of politics). These values go beyond and are sometimes in conflict with the original ones.
1. Describe your own affiliations with each of these schools of thought? What do you see as their benefits and drawbacks as a method to achieving societal goals?
2. In social liberalism, there is a belief that society can change and progress to achieve higher levels of freedom, equality and benefits for its members. Discuss.
a) Comment on the strong criticisms that social liberal Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has received from Black Activists about his lack of racial sensitivity.
3. In new the liberalism, there is a belief that society is basically flawed. Redress of historic oppression and relief of current oppression must be prioritized over equality and basic liberties (i.e. free speech). Discuss.
a) Comment on the backlash that “New Atheists” (e.g. Dawkins & Harris) have received from certain quarters with the new liberal community (Greenwald, Myers)
4. In the past, Multiculturalism has been viewed as Interculturalism, fusing the best of different cultures to produce a better culture as a whole. New liberalism approaches Multiculturalism as minority identities under threat of assimilation or appropriation by the dominant culture and therefore needing protection. How do you react to each of these conceptions?
5. The new liberalism asserts the rights of minority cultures against integration. How can countries like Canada defend these rights while prohibiting those (allegedly) cultural practices that the state judges illiberal (e.g. the subjugation of women or LGBT people?)