Unreasonable Citizens

Jonathan Quong

in Liberalism without Perfection

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594870
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191723513 | DOI:
Unreasonable Citizens

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This chapter discusses how political liberals ought to respond to those people the theory labels as ‘unreasonable’. These are people who reject one or more of the fundamental normative assumptions of political liberalism. The author argues that while such persons are rightfully excluded from the constituency of justification in liberal theory, such persons still have the same political status as other citizens, and are thus entitled to the same package of rights and benefits. That package of rights and benefits, however, does not include the right to pursue fundamentalist objectives that might threaten the stability of a liberal regime, or threaten the rights of other liberal citizens. The state therefore may permissibly restrict the actions of unreasonable citizens when those citizens act in ways that threaten the basic liberal norms that underpin a well-ordered society.

Keywords: education; hate speech; fundamentalism; illiberalism; public justification; public reason; Rawls; toleration; unreasonable persons

Chapter.  13329 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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