ETHC 324 Discussion 3 Liberty University
This module/week, you studied the ethical dimensions of social policy as it applied to the institution of marriage and criminal justice. From a secularist perspective, the attraction of liberal society is the presumption that its minimalist basic social morality is neutral toward all views about the good life (or philosophies of life etc.). The principle of neutrality applies to any policy, whether the affected audiences are individuals or groups. Neutrality severs the intellectual bonds that liberty shares with other moral precepts. However, Mitchell’s argument claims that liberal society cannot be neutral. His point: liberal society itself cannot pose an existential threat to itself in the name of liberty. By contrast, pluralistic society can employ liberty against itself (i.e. the nexus of morals that inform a conception of liberty in that context); it ignores the warning of existential threat. Neutrality undermines the common moral constraints needed to distinguish liberty from license. For the sake of better terms, call these 2 versions of liberal society classical liberalism (i.e. de facto pluralism described by Mitchell) and New Liberalism (i.e. ideal– prescriptive – pluralist liberalism).
Write a DB essay that expounds on Mitchell’s argument. Examine his argument in the case of marriage and family. Then, extrapolate his argument into the contemporary issue of profiling as it applies to race in the context of criminal justice and national security against homegrown terrorism. Use Bluhm to provide the factual context of the manner in which the heated tension between classical and New Liberalism plays out. Assess whether the complaint of racial discrimination in protecting law and order reveals the implicit ethical influences of a pluralist society, Mitchell’s understanding of liberal society, or some of both. Explain how race enters into the ethical discussion on profiling. Use Monsma for the biblical understanding of the issues involved.