Is Liberalism Obsolete? What does this question mean? What are we really trying to get at, when we ask this question? Let us take note that there are two rather expansive and indeterminate words in this question; indeterminate, because of the way the question has been asked. Namely, the words Liberalism, and obsolete. It is out of fashion these days to begin a philosophy talk with definitions, but I cannot help but do so in this case, because otherwise you will have no idea what I am asking you to agree to in this argument.
If you live in the west for any serious length of time, you become familiar with the story: Mary has an audience with an angel, who tells her she is to become a mother. God visits her, and pronounces her the mother of the Son Of God. She and her oddly accepting husband Joseph head off into the desert to be counted in Bethlehem, where the boy is born in a manger, and proclaimed the savior of the world.
It has become a commonplace habit in contemporary quasi-philosophical circles, to roll one’s eyes and snicker, or to sneer and sniff, whenever the mention of Plato’s Forms happens to sour the air. It seems to be taken for granted these days, that the Forms “just aren’t done” anymore, that somehow they’ve been shown to be disreputable or false, and that no one need any longer to take the idea seriously (least of all, professional philosophers).