Soon, however, Gray is defining way of life" in terms suggesting something far more collective and unchosen: "Ways of life must be practised by a number of people, not only one, span the generations, have a sense of themselves and be recognized by others, exclude some people, and have some distinctive practices, beliefs and values." And, as we have seen, Gray scoffs at those "recent liberal writings" in which, mistakenly, "the fact of pluralism refers to a diversity of personal ideals whose place is in the realm of voluntary association." Often, in contrast with his discussion of soldiers and day traders, Gray suggests that all autonomous individuals have the same way of life.
Gray's own discussion of commingled ways of life helps us to understand why this is the case: When people become cognizant of the existence of different ways of life, ar e aware that different ways of life are open to them, and are placed in situations in which they cannot help but choose between one way of life and another, they are already on the road to becoming autonomous individuals.
Furthermore, our various interests often conflict and, since it is hardly rational to remain at cross-purposes with one's self, we revise and develop our interests, trying to achieve a more harmonious way of life. In other words, there is a pragmatic sense of "rationality" that emphasizes an overall coherence of purpose, belief, and action.
In this sense, a religious way of life may well be rational.
Moreover, this neutrality must be quite broad because, on this view, a way of life has its moral standing by virtue of its being the object of autonomous choice,(20) the product of a being who has this first higher order capacity.
Expressive liberty claims that a citizen has to pursue a way of life that best expresses his or her most fundamental values, values that give purpose and meaning to his or her life.(41) Implementing the program of Kantian liberalism forces too many people to live against their deepest values, thereby restricting their expressive liberty and compromising the need for public order.