Originally triggered by https://sootyempiric.blogspot.com/2022/04/why-i-am-not-liberal.html
Then ... quite a long Twitter discussion between PhilJones and OliSharpe on liberalism.
TODO : Need to extract all the salient points we're making.
Start at the embedded tweet to follow down all the arguments, though the essay at the top of the thread is worth reading too.
One short fragment from me :
I think it's not just "liberty as highest priority ".
The hallmark of liberalism is its emphasis on the individual, and individual rights, as the building block out of which you can construct all the other values and constraints you need in society.
Or maybe to put it another way, which might make it clearer. I believe liberalism is the hypothesis that all the morality your society needs, is REDUCIBLE to individual rights. And so as long as the state protects those, qua individual rights, its done is job.
Whereas the moment you think there can be obligations on the state, and on the populace, that aren't reducible to individual rights, then you are no longer a liberal. You need a new theory of where obligations come from.
That doesn't mean you don't value individual rights and freedom. I certainly do. It's just that I don't think they are sufficient to describe / define / produce all the morality that society needs.
See also :