Introduction: Hard-hearted Liberalism

in Courting the Abyss

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780226662749
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226662756 | DOI:
Introduction: Hard-hearted Liberalism

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This chapter traces the leading framework for understanding public communication in the Anglo-American world, namely, free expression, focusing especially on the notion that exposure to evil can be good for the public health. Three basic options that vie for intellectual and moral allegiance are as follows: enlightenment doubt, cultural pluralism, and fundamentalism. The first embraces modernity and its constant revolutionizing of human existence, especially the fertility of science for improving conditions. The second has lost faith in modernity's guarantees of progress and emancipation, and points to the incommensurable swirl of moral and intellectual positions generated in human history. The third option is also cautious about modernity, but in an antimodern rather than postmodern way. In terms of the globe's inhabitants today, neotraditional faith is surely chosen as often as critical rationality or cultural relativism. Fundamentalism is largely antimodern rather than premodern.

Keywords: public communication; Anglo-American world; cultural pluralism; fundamentalism; Christianity; freedom of expression

Chapter.  12856 words. 

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