Liberalism and Political Philosophy: Discussion Questions on Miller, Waldron and Limbaugh

1. Waldron stresses (rightly) that liberalism is an individualistic doctrine. In what regards is it individualistic? Do you think that it is too individualistic?

2. What are the main modern challengers to liberalism?

3. Miller lists four problems for liberalism. Why are these more serious problems for liberalism than for other political doctrines?

4. How does what Waldron and Miller take liberalism to be compare with the views that Limbaugh attributes to liberals? Would Limbaugh count as a liberal, as Waldron defines the notion?

5. Limbaugh says on page 5, "If we're going to convince the minds and hearts of the American people that what's about to happen to them is as disastrous as anything in the lives in peacetime, we're going to have to discuss philosophy with them. We are going to have to talk about principles, because our principles are not present in what's happening here."

What are those principles and how are they different from the principles liberals endorse? What is Limbaugh's main criticism of liberals? In what ways, if any, is his disagreement philosophical?

6. Are the disagreements between liberals and conservatives about

  • human nature?
  • what makes for a good life?
  • the purposes of government?
  • justice?