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What if not all goods are compatible?

It is an abiding conceit of our age that all good ideas go together. Truth and reconciliation, peace and justice, even justice and truth: these are only some of the worthy ambitions for human society that are routinely presented as totally reconcilable. But the stony reality is that it is by no means obvious that they are.

Of course, in societies that are basically in good shape, both psychologically and materially, such moral fables - such wishful thinking, really - rarely do much harm and can often do considerable good. Think of the current multiculturalist fables that we in the West have concocted for ourselves in order to cope with the dilemmas and challenges of mass immigration from the non-European world. In this piece of inspired oversimplification, cultural 'diversity' is invariably seen as a boon rather than a threat.