Dear America, Time to Read John Inazu on “Confident Pluralism”

Dear America, it is over, like it or not Donald Trump is your new president, but at least the malicious campaign season is over. Now at the moment I know you all probably feel like you’ve just woken up from a bad dream with a hang-over that could kill a small child. If that is how you feel, I have something for you.

SBL executive director John Kutsko put me onto a great book called Confident Pluralism by John Inazu and I heartily recommend it. This is a book that can help those on the left and the right move forward and reclaim civility and civil virtues.

I love this quote from the book:

Confident pluralism offers a political solution to the practical problem of our differences. Instead of the elusive goal of E pluribus unum [out of many, one], it suggests a more modest possibility – that we can live together in our ‘many-ness.’ That vision does not entail Pollyannish illusions that we will overcome our differences and live happily ever after. We will continue to struggle with those whose views we regard as irrational, immoral, or even dangerous. We are stuck with the good, the bad, and the ugly of pluralism. Yet confident pluralism remains possible in both law and society … Confident pluralism allows genuine differences to coexist without suppressing or minimizing our firmly held convictions. We can embrace pluralism precisely because we are confident in our own beliefs, and in the groups, and institutions that sustain them.

In a remark very relevant to religious freedom debates, Inazu writes that we need a political vision and civic virtues that exhibit “tolerance for dissent, a scepticism of government orthodoxy, and a willingness to endure strange and even offensive ways of life.”

Visit the website for the book.

Here’s a short video about the book with Tim Keller.

Here’s a TED-style talk by John Inazu:

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