On the Potential of Liberalism and Multiculturalism After 9/11: A Response to Haithe Anderson
by Elizabeth Heilman - March 20, 2004
This article acknowledges intractable differences that challenge hopefulness after 9/11, but asserts that liberalism and multiculturalism offer hope to classroom communities and to a global world in which our cultures and futures are increasingly interconnected. The essay challenges five basic arguments put forward by Haithe Anderson pertaining to the limits of liberalism and multiculturalism. It argues against Andersonís generalizations about multiculturalism, characterizations of liberal theory, confusion of philosophical justifications with actual legislation, utilizing loaded terms such as evil and the exchange of one set of interpretations with another set that only leads to limitations rather than understandings/knowledge. These critiques are supported with a variety of sources, including: John Stuart Mill, John Rawls, Martha Nussbaum, and John Locke. In the end, this debate emphasizing liberalism and multiculturalism as tenuous, complex, and promising encourages thoughtful discussions about the nature of pluralistic society.
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