Reformist Consent and Political Obligation

George Klosko

in Political Obligations

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199256204
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602351 | DOI:
Reformist Consent and Political Obligation

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With theories of political obligation based on consent now generally discredited because most people have not actually consented, certain theorists attempt to rescue consent by proposing mechanisms through which individuals could consent to government. Various mechanisms are examined, including ‘consent-or-leave’ and Michael Walzer's proposal that citizens who refuse to consent be allowed a lesser status, analogous to that of ‘resident aliens at home’. All these mechanisms confront insuperable difficulties concerning essential public goods. Because resident aliens at home will continue to receive public goods, the alternatives are that they be allowed to receive them cost-free or that they incur obligations, even though they explicitly refused to consent.

Keywords: aliens; Beran; consent; political obligation; public goods; reformist consent; resident aliens; Walzer

Chapter.  8265 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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