Paul at Though Cowards Flinch sets out to defend that part of the left willing to make nice with reactionary Islamist forces, to defend it from criticism directed at it by what he calls, now the 'Secular Responsible', and now the 'Secular Respectable', left - of which he takes Nick Cohen as an exemplar. The key failing, he says, is a confusion between agency and structure, but in any event in a somewhat rambling first post of two (the other one yet to come) Paul mobilizes to his own purposes Habermas and Haidt, among others, so as to come up with the resource of 'value pluralism' that will, he alleges, give comfort to 'left-wing intellectuals [who]... recognise that there are other ways of looking at rights than through the prism of liberalism'. To save you the trouble, should you want to be saved it, of reading the whole of his post, I offer two key quotations from it. One:
In this reading, what the Secular Respectable Left see as a betrayal of liberal values and human rights can be seen simply as an acknowledgment by some on the left that there are other worldviews, which do not depend on the primacy of the individual, which are potentially as valid.
And two (from Haidt, apparently):
... for the first time in my life, I was able to step outside my home morality, the ethic of autonomy. I had a place to stand, and from the vantage point of the ethic of community, the ethic of autonomy now seemed overly individualistic and self-focused.
I'm not going to dawdle over this, so please excuse the fact, if you would, that I adopt a somewhat crude method of argument. If other views not depending on the primacy of the individual may be as valid as liberal values and a belief in human rights, then a community which every now and then drops some of its members into a large meat grinder is fine. And if an ethic of autonomy is 'overly individualistic and self-focused', then a community that utterly deprives its members of individual autonomy is also - other things equal - not too bad when compared with liberal and pluralist ones.
I take the above as strongly indicative of the low worth of Paul's version of 'value pluralism'. (Thanks: JA.)