The latest book in the Faith in Reason series provides a theological defence of a strand of political liberalism; a strand informed by the theological conviction that the human person is a creature incapable of its own perfection, although nonetheless called to and made for this perfection. Insole puts a question mark against easy caricatures of "liberalism", which tend to describe it as individualistic, hubristic and relativist. By attending to figures such as Edmund Burke, Lord Acton and John Rawls, Insole shows that a passion to protect the individual within liberal institutions arises not from an illusory sense of self-sufficiency, but from an insight into our fallen condition, characterised by frailty, vulnerability, yet also from a hope and intimation of redemption and an eternal divine order. Taking up the emphasis Rawls places on the wars of religion in 16th and 17th century Europe as the historical impetus for an emerging political liberalism, Insole pays careful attention to the work of Richard Hooker. After attending to this theologico-political seed-bed of liberalism, Insole investigates how the notions of 'liberty' employed in England, America and France have some quite distinct theological lineages, and separates the political liberalism he defends from these over-zealous appropriations that emanate, for instance, from American Presidents. On the basis of his theological defence, he also critiques the Radically Orthodox attempt to leap beyond political liberalism to a more enchanted space, showing the Radical Orthodoxy project to be politically naïve, utopian and dangerous, in ways well understood by the tradition of political liberalism defended.
Chapter One - Obscured Order and Political Liberalism: Edmund Burke and Lord Acton
Chapter Two - Reciprocity and the Burdens of Judgement: Rawls, Hooker and the Invisible Church
Chapter Three - Overcoming Evil with Good: Crusading Liberalism
Chapter Four - Against Radical Orthodoxy - the Dangers of Overcoming Political Liberalism
Chapter Five - The Danger of Anglican Analogy - a Lesson from History
The Politics of Human Frailty: A Theological Defense of Political Liberalism by Chris Insole was published by SCM in June 2004. The ISBN for The Politics of Human Frailty: A Theological Defense of Political Liberalism is 9780334029571.