Mark S. Weiner

In Search of the Political

In Legal Philosophy, Uncategorized on December 19, 2020 at 1:14 am

The latest issue of Telos includes my review of Fred Siegel’s book The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump (Candor, NY: Telos Press Publishing, 2020). A protégé of Irving Howe at Dissent, Siegel is one of the last vital links to the world of the New York Intellectuals. David Pan’s introduction to the issue, titled “Race, Russia, and Rights,” can be found on the Telos blog here.

Pan writes of my contribution: “The affirmation of rational discussion and legal institutions over all substantive morality leads to its own forms of blindness and intolerance, which Mark S. Weiner discusses in his review of Fred Siegel’s The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump. As Siegel argues, the establishment of the policies of a liberal technocratic managerialism represented the triumph of rational discourse, but rather than solving the problems of the world, this victory led to the growth of an underclass that accepts the victim status attributed to it by elites. Siegel links this technocratic approach to the Rawlsian attempt to set aside substantive moral commitments, leading to the de-valorization of middle-class values. Rather than conceiving of virtue and justice as moral concerns that must be grounded in the beliefs of the entire population, the attempt to replace moral commitments with rational discourse and legal institutions ends up undermining the popular basis of such institutions.”

The journal is behind a paywall, but many university libraries hold a digital subscription.

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