Steven Alan Samson

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Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


The 'empowerment of rights', whether domestically or globally, presents itself in at least a double aspect: both as a cultural revolution and as a political strategy. The strategy pursued by cultural revolutionaries who equate liberalism with secularism is to turn the basic values of the West into weapons against it so that its inherent defense mechanisms will be rendered ineffective. This strategy is most apt to succeed by provoking crises of conscience through redefinitions of human rights that, in the end, lead to individual and institutional conversion. But, as Marcello Pera notes, political liberalism itself suffers from an 'ethical deficit'. Torn from its religious roots, it lacks the requisite thickness of moral authority needed to protect the rights of persons and resist threats to the very existence of civil society. Thus have we come to confuse despotism with liberty and undercut our capacity for self-government.