TNR gives Damon Linker the last word (and Im grateful, since I dont think the exchange of letters was ultimately very productive). Youre probably not surprised to learn that I dont find the ground of DLs criticism of his former associates very compelling: as a "theorist of liberalism," DL is basically a slightly more readable John Rawls. Theres nothing there that I havent seen before, and nothing DL offers that leads me to abandon my judgment that the claims of non-comprehensiveness are any less mistaken.
Purportedly non-comprehensive (call them "political," if you must) liberalisms rest on the denial that a comprehensive view is necessary to guide us. Rawlss liberal predecessors (John Locke and Immanuel Kant, for example) recognized a comprehensive religious view required a comprehensive theoretical response: they engaged, rather than simply evaded, religion, attempting to reconstruct it so as to make it "safe for liberalism." As such, they made claims about religious truths that can be examined and criticized. The claim about the possibility of a (merely?) "political liberalism" either acknowledges or fails to acknowledge these essentially comprehensive efforts, which are, in effect, a denial of the comprehensive truth of any religious view, a denial that is itself obviously contestable.