Values File

Liberals have always been suspicious of calls for

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Unformatted text preview: vidual at the expense of social cohesion, fellowship, and the pursuit of the common good. Although they may offer different remedies for the social ravages allegedly wrought by the liberal creed, the new communitarians all agree that we must seek to transform the stridently individualistic "politics of rights" that presently dominates public discourse and practice into a more fraternal and morally elevated "politics of the common good" (Sandel 1984, 93; 1992, 222). Liberals have always been suspicious of calls for "community." Calvin, Rousseau, Marx, and Hitler have cast a long shadow on communitarian dreams. Moreover, liberals regard appeals to the common good warily because historically such rhetoric has accompanied various dangerous or oppressive sentiments-- religious intolerance, nationalism, militarism, and the like. Indeed, "far from being innocent," writes Stephen Holmes (1989), "the idea of the common good was traditionally implicated in the justification of privilege, hierarchy, and deference" (240). Ever since Aristotle distinguished between master and slave by asserting the former's superior ability to recognize and comprehend the common good, there has been no shortage of potential rulers claiming a special insight into its nature and seeking to impose their exclusive conception of goodness or virtue on the social order. SLHS Value File Communitarianism COMMUNITARIANISM ONLY WAY TO PROTECT RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY Amitai Etzioni, Professor of Government at George Washington University, Founder and Chairman of the Communitarian Network, THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY, 1993, p.253. Neither human existence nor individual liberty can be sustained for long outside the interdependent and overlapping communities to which all of us belong. Nor can any community long survive unless its members dedicate some of their attention, energy, and resources to shared projects. The exclusive pursuit of private interest erodes the network of social environments on which we all depend, and is destructive to our shared experiment in democratic self-government. For these reasons, we hold that the rights of individuals cannot long be preserved without a communitarian perspective. 2. PRESERVATION OF INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY REQUIRES A COMMUNITARIAN PERSPECTIVE Amitai Etzioni, Professor of Government at George Washington University, Founder and Chairman of the Communitarian Network, THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNI...
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