Austin Dacey

“ Where did secular liberalism go wrong?

It has been undone by its own ideas. The first idea is that matters of conscience — religion, ethics, and values — are private matters. The privatizing of conscience started with two important principles: religion should be separated from the state and people should not be forced to believe one way or the other. But it went further to say that belief has no place in the public sphere. Conscience belongs in homes and houses of worship, not in the marketplace. By making conscience private, secular liberals had hoped to prevent believers from introducing sectarian beliefs into politics. But of course they couldn’t, since freedom of belief means believers are free to speak their minds in public.

Instead, secularism imposed a gag order on itself. Because “private” is equated with “personal” and “subjective,” questions of conscience were placed out of bounds of serious critical evaluation.



… The mistake lies in thinking that because conscience is free from coercion, it must be free from criticism, reason, truth, or independent, objective standards of right and wrong. The indispensable principle of freedom of belief has mutated into an unthinking assumption that matters of belief are immune to critical public inquiry and shared evaluative norms.”


Austin Dacey
Read more quotes from Austin Dacey


Share this quote:
Twitter icon

Friends Who Liked This Quote


To see what your friends thought of this quote, please sign up!



Browse By Tag