God according to their own lights
, free from constraints imposed by the almighty Church of England, and free as well from an English King increasingly given to what the Pilgrims perceived to be papist tendencies.
Although it may run counter to contemporary demo-enthusiasms to say so, the best thing about democracy is that, of all political structures human beings have devised for themselves, it is the only one that has shown itself able over the long term to sustain societies in which most people enjoy a liberty to live their lives according to their own lights
. It is liberal democracy, not the pure sovereignty of majorities, that merits plaudits, both here and in the Iraq of the future.
Even according to their own lights
, however, they have made major mistakes: Clarkson cites several cases where elites' understanding of the agreements they signed was notably deficient, compared to the understanding of other parties.
Individuals practiced poverty, according to their own lights
, but collectively they all strove to contribute to the corporate wealth of the convent.
Let the myriad journalists, sociologists, ethnographers, et alia ply their respective trades, while Shahar delves deeply into the hearts and souls of men and women - both young and old - who live out their days and nights according to their own lights
and their own vision, as well as their own darknesses.
Not even to help the Cruzan family and to protect the right to die would I return us to the not-so-long-ago days when a runaway Supreme Court regularly imposed its politics on state legislatures--finding unconstitutional, for example, minimum wage and maximum hour legislation that conflicted with the Court's own notions of "liberty of contract." The modern Court, reacting to the counter-democratic abuses of that era, has struggled to preserve for the states their constitutional power to seek justice according to their own lights
. The Court has even suggested there is value in viewing the states as "laboratories of jurusprudence" providing us with data as to which legal approaches work and which do not.
Recognizing the nuances of a post-Berlin Wall world, Otteson labels the two predominant positions in the Western world "socialist-inclined" and "capitalist-inclined." Socialist-inclined persons not only see centralization as economically effective and morally just, they also tend to "distrust granting local people or communities a wide scope to organize themselves according to their own lights
." While they might not despise individual liberty, they prefer centralized decision-making and, critically, they prize equality as the highest good.
The other is hostile to liberty as such because leaving people free to live according to their own lights
undermines deference to traditional institutions.
Suppose, not implausibly, that most people prefer a less total immersion in political activity, that they assign higher priority to hiking in the woods, watching Simpsons reruns, singing in the church choir, golfing, gossiping, playing Parcheesi with their kids, making money, making love, or simply making a way in the world according to their own lights
. Each hour devoted to the various strands of strong democracy is an hour unavailable for these alternative human activities.
But which liberalism: the ragtag package of nostrums, slogans, and mea culpas snatched from the wreckage of McGovernism and tended unto this day by the most feckless of the Kennedys; the egalitarian liberalism whose contemporary theorist of greatest renown is philosopher John Rawls; or the etymologically ancestral liberalism predicated on respect for the liberty of individuals to lead their lives according to their own lights
? John Kekes, a professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Albany, hasn't quite made up his mind, and that contributes to the disorder of his latest book.