Politics and virtue: Radical orthodoxy and wisdom for the common good

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This article reflects on political virtue in conversation with an influential manifesto from English Radical Orthodoxy: The Politics of Virtue, by John Milbank and Adrian Pabst. They see social and economic liberalism as destroying a sustaining metaphysics of communal abiding, with classical and Judaeo-Christian roots. They commend an ‘alternative modern' version of this past, albeit through British and European political traditions and arrangements preserving elements of its ‘conservative socialism.' Yet they undersell the spiritual capacities of secular modernity, also the political virtue of principled, non-ideological pragmatism. And they oversell the actual pacific character of that idealised past, since such closed worlds required the discrete use of violence to maintain order and boundaries. A more mainstream Christian account of political virtue today would see liberal autonomy augmented by a revived communitarianism, along with the civilizing of global capital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-331
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Public Theology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 05 Nov 2018


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