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


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Taught by Manuel Rodeiro
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 26

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Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

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Jun 27

Jun 30

The Woman Question

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7:30 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 6

Lassos of Truth: A Celebration of Three Wonder Women

Taught by Three Olio Professors
7:30 p.m. at Brooklyn Art Library

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Jul 7

Free As Gods: Picasso, Calder and Artists Take Center Stage

Taught by Charles Riley
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 8

*Olio House Party* ​In Search of Greatness in the 1950s: Greatness For All?

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7:30 p.m. at Bed Stuy Brownstone

Sign Up - $12

Jul 9

**Olio Seminar** // Woman as Other, Woman as Lover

Taught by Jamie Warren
3 p.m. at Nowhere Studios

Sign Up - $100

Jul 11

The Art of Noise: Percussion Music and the Urban Jungle

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $12

Jul 14

A History of Analog in Revolt: Sparking Poetic Revolutions

Taught by Jessica Rogers
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 16

*Read-In* Meditations

Taught by Michael Prettyman
4 p.m. at Dean Machine

Sign Up - $10

Jul 18

Jul 28

Women, Design, and Empowerment: I Will What I Want

Taught by Michelle Millar Fisher
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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