Toward a Pluralistic Perfectionist Theory of Civil Liberties

Robert P. George

in Making Men Moral

Published in print April 1995 | ISBN: 9780198260240
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682063 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Toward a Pluralistic Perfectionist Theory of Civil Liberties

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This chapter discusses a possible framework for a pluralistic perfectionist theory and how such a theory even protects individual freedom. The pluralistic perfectionist theory is grounded on the belief that civil liberties given to man serve a human good that the government should promote by protecting such liberties. It is also necessary to distinguish between the real important liberties that should always be respected and unimportant ones that must be limited for the sake of social goals. Important civil rights such as the freedom of speech, press, privacy, assembly, and religion should receive utmost protection because of the human value that these freedoms provide. Although, there are some instances when important civil rights can be limited by the state, such instances should be warranted and protected from possible abuse. The pluralistic perfectionist theory recognizes the diversity of good actions as the true basis of individual autonomy and not the anti-perfectionist's view of ‘moral right to do a moral wrong’.

Keywords: pluralistic perfectionist theory; civil liberties; civil rights; freedom of speech; press; privacy; assembly; religion

Chapter.  16441 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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