Chapter

Simple Arguments For No Restraint: Some Answers and Necessary Qualifications

Kent Greenawalt

in Private Consciences and Public Reasons

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195094190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853021 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195094190.003.0005
Simple Arguments For No Restraint: Some Answers and Necessary Qualifications

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This chapter introduces the concept of self-restraint in politics. Since citizens of liberal democracies enjoy wide freedom of choice and expression, inquiry sensibly begins with simple arguments against self-restraint. Citizens in a liberal democracy are free to vote and advocate as they choose. Indeed, these liberties are fundamental aspects of our form of government, and if citizens enjoy them, they should also regard themselves as free to rely upon whatever grounds seem apt, and to make public arguments in those terms. Further, an implicit assumption of democratic government is that outcomes will be best if they reflect the feelings of most citizens. This aspiration will come closer to achievement if citizens regard themselves as free to rely upon all they care about, rather than some restricted subset of what matters to them.

Keywords: self-restraint; impositions; nonimpositions; liberal democracy; legislators; citizens

Chapter.  4624 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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