Matt Yglesias is right that public policy must deal with the broad abstractions of the common good, not just with issues that affect lawmakers personally. And Anne Thériault is certainly right that a woman's value, dignity and rights are not contingent on who cares about her personally. Still, both posts seem too dismissive of the role personal relationships play in our formation, our view of the world, our very personhood.
On a journey through North America, my wife and I attended many churches. At one the pastor insisted repeatedly that "the meaning and purpose of life is to have a personal relationship with Jesus." The claim irked me.
Our Bible study group was looking at the women at the tomb, and I joked, “We don’t need Jesus today, he’s not in this story.” I was unprepared for the wave of grief that washed over me.