Reconciling Modernity and Tradition in a Liberal Society

Many modern liberals have been eager to tout the virtues of diversity, but many have equally found it difficult to tolerate customs or traditions that do not conform to liberalism’s deepest commitments to equality and individual liberty. The distinction between traditional and modern is not a very useful one for understanding the problems confronting liberal society, or for working out how to address them because the contrast does not pick out a tension or conflict about which we can usefully generalise. Chandran Kukatahs suggests that as the tension in question is not one that is capable of resolution, the best we can do is stumble along making a succession of accommodations as the world changes around us. This is, of course, also a kind of liberalism.