Liberalism and the West’s “Crisis of Meaning”

Source: Quillette
by Matt Johnson

“In a recent essay for the New York Times, David Brooks lamented what he sees as the deficiencies of liberalism. Unlike religion, which Brooks believes has long satisfied the need for meaning and purpose in human life, liberalism has proven incapable of filling the ‘hole in people’s souls.’ Liberal societies, he writes, ‘can seem a little tepid and uninspiring.’ Liberalism ‘nurtures the gentle bourgeois virtues like kindness and decency,’ but not the ‘loftier virtues, like bravery, loyalty, piety and self-sacrificial love.’ Although he considers himself a liberal, Brooks thinks liberal societies are lonely, atomised, and even selfish. Brooks joins a growing list of public intellectuals who maintain that the principles and institutions of liberalism — democracy, freedom of speech and conscience, individual rights, and the rule of law — aren’t sufficient for societies to flourish.” (07/03/24)