the authority of the holy,” Jurgen Habermas once declared, “is gradually replaced by the authority of an achieved consensus.”
The liberal mind set is supposedly neutral
Postmodernism announces (loudly and often) that a supposedly neutral, objective rationality is always a construct informed by interests it neither acknowledges nor knows nor can know. Let us say that then of the 'liberal' view, it is supposedly neutral, it is supposedly objective and rational,
yet it is informed by interests it neither acknowledges nor knows nor can know
Meanwhile science endlessly proliferates for not to do so would be 'wrong' and that is its reason
Meanwhile science goes its merry way endlessly inventing and proliferating technological marvels without having the slightest idea of why. The “naive faith” Habermas criticizes is not a faith in what science can do — it can do anything — but a faith in science’s ability to provide reasons, aside from the reason of its own keeping on going, for doing it and for declining to do it in a particular direction because to do so would be wrong.
The problem is that a political structure that welcomes all worldviews into the marketplace of ideas, but holds itself aloof from any and all of them, will have no basis for judging the outcomes its procedures yield.
Worldviews bring with them substantive long-term goals that serve as a check against local desires. Worldviews furnish those who live within them with reasons that are more than merely prudential or strategic for acting in one way rather than another.
The Liberal state, resting on a base of procedural rationality, delivers no such goals or reasons and thus suffers, Habermas says, from a “motivational weakness”; it cannot inspire its citizens to virtuous (as opposed to self-interested) acts because it has lost “its grip on the images, preserved by religion, of the moral whole” and is unable to formulate “collectively binding ideals.”
The Liberal min set has been “instrumentalized,” made into something useful for a secular reason that still has no use for its teleological and eschatological underpinnings. ds
By Habermas’s own account the two great worldviews still remain far apart. Religions resist becoming happy participants in a companionable pluralism and insist on the rightness, for everyone, of their doctrines. Liberal rationality is committed to pluralism and cannot affirm the absolute rightness of anything except its own (empty) proceduralism.