Advocates of political liberalism hold it as a superior alternative to perfectionism on the grounds that it avoids superfluous and/or controversial claims in favor of a maximally-inclusive approach undergirded by a "free-standing" justification for the ideology. These assertions prove difficult to defend: political interpretations of liberalism tend to be implicitly ethnocentric; they often rely upon a number of controversial, and even empirically falsified, assumptions about rationality--and in many ways prove more parochial than their perfectionist cousins. It is possible to reform political liberalism to address these challenges, but generally at the expense of the supposed normative force and universality of the liberal project. However, this para-liberal approach is much better in keeping with contemporary findings in sociology, psychology and cognitive science--and can much more effectively accommodate the illiberal challenge.