Chapter

Liberalism Redressed

Jethro K. Lieberman

in Liberalism Undressed

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199919840
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980376 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199919840.003.0011
Liberalism Redressed

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The chapter argues that the previous chapters have demonstrated that the harm principle accounts for basic liberal institutions and practices. So conceived, liberalism requires the understanding that participation in the state is not necessarily the highest good, that there is a realm outside the state that liberalism guarantees to the people in which to seek their own good, and that communitarian and other claims that uphold the Aristotelian notion of humans as zoon politikon rest on an ambiguity at the heart of antiliberal philosophies. That the state is limited to dealing with harm does not make life in a liberal society pallid; liberalism and its neutrality toward the good is no less noble for being modest or passive. The chapter points to signs that modern society has moved in significant ways toward accepting the harm principle and that a major unfinished piece of business is to develop and seek consensus over a theory of harm.

Keywords: liberalism; same-sex marriage; neutrality; Sandel; zoon politikon

Chapter.  6519 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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