Values File

Communitarianism seeks a balance between rights and

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Unformatted text preview: TY, 1993, p. 253. A communitarian perspective recognizes that the preservation of individual liberty depends on the active maintenance of the institutions of civil society where citizens learn respect for others as well as self-respect; where we acquire a lively sense of our personal and civic responsibilities, along with an appreciation of our own rights and the rights of others; where we develop the skills of self-government as well as the habit of governing ourselves, and learn to serve others--not just self. COMMUNITARIANISM SEEKS A BALANCE BETWEEN RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS Amitai Etzioni, Professor of Government at George Washington University, Founder and Chairman of the Communitarian Network, THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY, 1993, p. 254. The basic communitarian quest for balances between individuals and groups, rights and responsibilities, and among the institutions of state, market, and civil society is a constant, ongoing enterprise. Because this quest takes place within history and within varying social contexts, however, the evaluation of what is a proper moral stance will vary according to circumstances of time and place. If we were in China today, we would argue vigorously for more individual rights; in contemporary America, we emphasize individual and social responsibilities. COMMUNITARIAN MORALS NEEDED FOR COMPLETE CONCEPT OF RIGHTS Amitai Etzioni, Professor of Government at George Washington University, Founder and Chairman of the Communitarian Network, THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY, 1993, p. 256. The language of rights is morally incomplete. To say that "I have a right to do X" is not to conclude that "X is the right thing for me to do." One may, for example, have a First Amendment right to address others in a morally inappropriate manner. Say one tells a Jew that "Hitler should have finished you all" or a black, "nigger go back to Africa," or worse. Rights give reasons to others not to coercively interfere with the speaker in the performance of protected acts; however, they do not in themselves give me a sufficient reason to perform these acts. There is a gap between rights and rightness that cannot be closed withou...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.

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