Recent changes to Canadian law greatly broaden the scope of binding arbitration. Under the new rules, if people don’t want to go to court to settle civil disputes they don’t have to, but can get a legally enforcible decision from an arbitrator. One consequence is that it is now practical of Muslims in Canada to govern their mutual relations by the Shari’ah simply by agreeing to do so. Once it is practical it becomes a religious obligation, so they are now working out the practical details.
In general, people can agree to submit future disputes to arbitrators. It seems, then, that a Muslim community could require its members to agree to submit all disputes with other Muslims to Islamic judges. A group of traditionalist Catholics or Mormons could do likewise, and so have Catholic or Mormon principles govern their commercial transactions or function as their family law.
The result would be something that has been altogether typical in profoundly multicultural societies in the Middle East and South Asia, Ottoman Turkey and British India for example. Each community would have its own law for inheritance, domestic relations and internal contractual dealings, with a common law defined by the state governing intercommunal relations and the more serious crimes.
It’s not a perfect solution to the problem of liberal nihilism. It means the end of the common public life that has distinguished the West and given rise to unmatched achievements in science, philosophy, the arts and politics. It means radically irresponsible and therefore despotic government. On the other hand, it does let things go forward within particular communities on principles that make a tolerable human life possible, and so is better than comprehensive government of social life by the principles of advanced liberalism. It may turn out to be the best that’s available to us.