When the reputation of Bentley’s masterpiece was at its peak, it was not just because he had fashioned a useful tool, of course; it was because many people saw pluralism as being not only accurate but attractive. To regain that perspective today requires an even greater undoing of deeply ingrained habits of thought. Pluralism, in the tradition of Bentley, requires that one see one’s own political passions, and those of such unimpeachable actors as winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and members of the Concord Coalition, as representing something other than the promptings of pure justice. That does not come naturally. One has to see that sincere talk of the public interest and the general good can be dangerous tools in the hands of people one disagrees with, if not in one’s own. (If you’re a liberal, reread President Bush’s second inaugural address, a grandiose exercise in public-interest rhetoric meant to lay the groundwork for waging the war on terror and privatizing Social Security.) One has to get over the habit of assuming that “interests,” and, worse, lobbying and corruption, are the province only of one’s political opponents, an not one’s allies. Pluralism means dialling down the moral stature that we attach to universalist arguments, and dialling up the moral stature of particularism.So that's how a pluralist society works. The government must legislate morality, but I'm not sure it's our job to get them to legislate our particular morality; we have to change the minds of the masses, not try to force the government into forcing them to change their minds.
Am I contradicting myself?