To David Owen on Free Spirits, the Liberal Temperament, and Liberal Education

Source: Cato Unbound
by Steven Pittz

“In his response essay, David Owen presents a counterargument to the question of whether society needs free spirits, as well as offering insights into how spiritual freedom might be cultivated in a liberal society. On the whole, there seems to be more agreement than disagreement between myself and Owen, but I will take this opportunity to address some of the issues he raises. First, the argument that liberal society already promotes value pluralism, and that voluntary associations provide diversity enough to challenge powerful social norms and political ideologies, is one that looks different in theory than in practice. I strongly support voluntary associations and hope for genuine pluralism — like all liberals — but also have doubts about their efficacy in combatting norms and dogmatism in practice.” (09/13/21)