Liberalism and the Good Life

Presented with Nowadays


The earmark of liberalism, or liberal political theory, is that some conception of liberty has priority as a political value (say, over equality). Some liberal political theories, or liberalisms, are founded upon ethical theories or theories of the good life that are, in democratic societies where persons need not agree on moral or religious issues, controversial as justifications for laws and state policies.


For example, imagine a proposed law to ban the sale of caffeinated beverages on the grounds that drinking caffeine is not conducive to a person’s prospects for long-term health. One who endorses this reason for the caffeine ban might claim that health is an objective good and so is integral to an ideal or perfect human life. If so, the caffeine ban leads to more healthy persons in society and enables persons to live more ideal or perfect lives. Although perhaps intuitively appealing, this justification for the hypothetical ban on caffeinated beverages depends on or presupposes ethical, and a form of perfectionist, values that persons in a democratic society can reasonably disagree on. Moreover, many contemporary liberal political theories argue that states should neutrally justify laws and policies with reference to reasons that persons who hold diverse, and maybe incompatible, ethical values and conceptions of the good life can share and accept.


This class introduces one of the major concerns of contemporary liberalism, the idea of state neutrality, which is, on one formulation, the view that states may not justify laws and policies by recourse to debatable religious, moral, or philosophical values or conceptions of the good life. Moreover, this class considers perfectionist objections to the idea of state neutrality and proposes that modern states should promote goods that enable persons to pursue respectable lives.




Location: Nowadays

56-06 Cooper Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Trees, ping pong, checkers, grass to lie in, fresh air, and the occasional passing freight train. Good food for meat eaters, veggies and vegans. Beer, sangria, fancy sodas and wine. Classes with Think Olio, a lovely Sunday afternoon dance, moonlit movies and regular ping pong tourneys.


Kids can always run free, and dogs are always allowed on a leash.


The good old days are Nowadays.


Other upcoming Olios


Apr 28

Human Rights at the Edge of Darkness: We are the Resistance

Taught by Phelim Kine
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 30

*Read-in* Undoing the Demos: The Future of Education

Taught by Hallie Scott
4 p.m. at Dean Machine

Sign Up - $10

May 5

Buddhist Realism and Dark Comedy: It's Funny Because It's True

Taught by Christopher Kelley
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 7

*Read-in* The True Believer and the Nature of Mass Movements

Taught by Michael Haltenberger
4 p.m. at IDIO Gallery

Sign Up - $10

May 19

The Feminist Storytelling Movement in True Crime

Taught by Tracy Bealer
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 27

Great Books Written in Prison: From Plato to MLK

Taught by Ward Regan
7 p.m. at Molasses Books

Sign Up - $0

Jun 2

How Vulnerable are Reproductive Rights in the US?

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 30

The Woman Question

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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