Liberals paying through the nose to escape the consequences of liberalism
A San Francisco father who describes himself as a “passionate believer” in public education sends his three daughters to private schools, at an annual cost of $70,000. In order to have a decent life in this world, liberals must continually violate their liberal principles. I call this the unprincipled exception. It refers to things that liberals recognize are necessary for their own existence, and that they must have, but that cannot be rationalized or explained in liberal terms. But since in liberal society there are no publicly accepted moral concepts other than those of liberalism, the upshot is that liberals cannot give a principled and truthful justification for their own most important choices in life. They live lives that are substantially non-liberal, without ever questioning or challenging the liberal ideology itself (or, rather, they pursue materialistic and bourgeois values in practical life, while finding symbolic or cultural ways of expressing their liberalism, as David Brooks explains in Bobos in Paradise).
In the present instance, the father of the three daughters in private school says merely that public schools are “overcrowded” and “underfunded”—rather vague complaints which imply that it’s the illiberal selfishness of society that is at fault for the bad schools. He cannot permit himself to think or to say that the real reason the schools are unacceptable to him is the presence of minorities with their lower abilities, special needs, and disruptive behaviors, plus the egalitarian pedagogy that centers all education on the lowest level of ability. He worries that his daughters are not being exposed to the “diversity” that he thinks is so important. He does not allow himself to think that the very reason he’s paying $70,000 a year is to get his daughters away from the diversity.
That article on liberals’ private school preferences is rich. Here’s the tightest formulation of your unprincipled exception yet: “And despite his belief in [liberal’s principle here], he must do what’s best for his [liberal’s self-interest here].”LA replies:
Thank you. I also felt it was a tighter formulation.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 03, 2006 08:58 AM | Send