the liberal state dilemma


In 1976 Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde presented the following dilemma: “The liberal secular state lives on premises that it is not able to guarantee by itself. On one side it can subsist only if the freedom it consents to its citizens is regulated from within, inside the moral substance of individuals and of a homogeneous society. On the other side, it is not able to guarantee these forces of inner regulation by itself without renouncing to its liberalism.” What answers can the liberal state offer to questions of social cohesion and ethical deficit that are affecting secularized democracies? Are we living in a secular or a post-secular society? Reset put these questions to some of the most influential international intellectuals.

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