Once universal values such as justice and equality were agreed upon by almost all. Now they are identified by some as vehicles to entrench or overturn power. On the left, 'justice' as a means to sustain and impose privilege, 'truth' as an attempt to claim enduring authority. On the right, 'diversity' and 'equality' as means to undermine the status quo in favour of a new elite. The danger is apparent to many. Without an agreed set of values, society is increasingly divided. Debate limited by tribal associations that make discussion hard if not impossible.
While accepting that values can be used to cement or undermine power, do we need to re-engage with those whose values and beliefs we do not endorse? Should we seek to construct a new enlightenment to provide a basis for progress without simply returning to the prejudices of the past? Or do we just need to return to the liberal democratic values of the past?