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Commentary

'It's the economy, stupid'

I’m sure you remember that catch phrase. It was popularised during Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign of 1992.

John Benton

Those words may well come back to haunt the liberal democracies. What really holds the people of a modern liberal democracy together? It is not a shared cultural heritage. We are meant to be multi-cultural and diverse. It is not a shared moral vision. Ian Hislop’s recent BBC2 series, The Age of the Do-Gooders, looked back to Victorian times when both Christian and non-Christian still had some common understanding of what was meant by ‘good’. But times have changed. In our contemporary individualistic secular era, it has become clear that godlessness is unable to make the case for any real moral foundations. So this common consensus has almost died. For example, Christians would generally see the promotion of marriage and the nuclear family as for the good of society at large, whereas the hard secularists would claim almost the opposite.