Chapter

Popular Opinion

George Klosko

in Political Obligations

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199256204
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602351 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199256209.003.0009
Popular Opinion

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Examines opinions of ordinary people in regard to political obligations through small focus groups. Under certain circumstances, the views of ordinary people can lend support to the particular theories to which they subscribe and increase burdens of justification for proponents of alternative theories. Responses of participants in ten focus groups indicate strong consensus on basic points. Participants strongly believe they have political obligations, although they make exceptions for particular laws, which seem to them to serve no real social purpose. They ground their obligations on benefits provided by the state, and strongly connect up their own requirements to obey the law with requirements that all other people behave similarly. The moral principle that appears to coincide most closely with their views is a variant of the principle of fairness.

Keywords: focus groups; generalization; ordinary opinions; political obligation; principle of fairness; state benefits

Chapter.  17688 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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