he major virtue of this book is its civility. As Nussbaum stresses, it “shows that people who strongly disagree can both find much common ground and also articulate their differences with respect and care, fostering a culture of reason.” The engagement these authors model is vital in a country that seems daily to become more divided and fractious. Moore laments, echoing John Courtney Murray, “Sadly, most Americans don’t have these debates at all, content to stay in our silos and never engage with those who disagree with us.” Discussion or even argument are often cast aside as giving unwarranted legitimacy to the opposition and are replaced by condescension and vilification.
Of course, we want to defeat policies that we believe are unjust. But in a democracy such victories need to be tempered by the realization that we still need to live alongside each other as fellow citizens in a political community. We continue to be neighbors. As Moore concludes: “This book will equip you, wherever you stand, on how the ‘other side’ from you thinks. If American society follows the lead of this book, our culture wars won’t end, but they just might be kinder and smarter. That’s a good start.”