Some contend that you must confine all of your public arguments to those that meet the test of public reason. I [Wolterstorff] hold that it is not public reason and the Rawlsian duty of civility that lie at the heart of liberal democracy but the equal right to full political voice, this voice to be exercised within constitutional limits on the powers of government and within legal limits on the infringement by citizens on the rights of their fellow citizens to freely exercise their full political voice.
If you hold a comprehensive doctrine that is not "reasonable," then you are excluded: Libertarians will not be satisfied; but we can be grateful to Wolterstorff for his careful analysis of public reason.
In the present collection of essays, though, he assails a vastly influential school of thought in a way that libertarians will find useful.
He responds that majority rule, in his conception of equal political voice, is not untrammeled. Those outside the "legitimation pool" of these accepters do not count.
To my regret, Wolterstorff often uses the barbarism "advocate for" instead of "advocate. Rawls and other supporters of public reason like Robert Understanding liberal democracy essays in political philosophy disagree. Has Wolterstorff rejected public reason as not genuinely respectful of others, only to subject everyone to dominance by the majority of voters?
Wolterstorff assumes without considering alternative arrangements that the key task of political philosophy today is to arrive at an acceptable account of liberal democracy. No public reason liberal holds that, having excluded certain sorts of citizens from the legitimation pool, we can now say that a condition of its being acceptable to advocate and vote for some proposed piece of legislation is that one judges that everyone who remains in the pool has a good and decisive reason … for believing that the legislation would be a good thing.
See my discussion and criticism in the Mises Review. It transpires that in essence it is one that accepts public reason.
Others think that you can refer to your comprehensive doctrine, as long as you bring in arguments from public reason as well. But what if, as libertarians think, these rights extend further — to include natural rights to property?
This cannot sit well with Wolterstorff, who is a devout Christian and thinks that his religion is very much relevant to politics. For example, if you oppose easy divorce because you think this practice contravenes what the Bible teaches about marriage, you should not rely on this view in debates about public legislation.
Public reason is thus respectful and non-coercive — to those who accept its tenets. What if they leave no scope at all for further public deliberation, except perhaps on details?
People have rights, this argument goes, and the state has an obligation to protect these rights. About such doctrines and those who hold them Rawls says that "Within political liberalism, nothing more need be said. They operate from different philosophies, from what Rawls calls "comprehensive doctrines"; they have different "conceptions of the good.
Instead, you should confine yourself to arguments that others can accept as reasons. Ever since John Rawls published Political Liberalism inpolitical philosophers have focused on "public reason. Wolterstorff says that "to the best of my knowledge no one has previously explored this way of accounting for the binding political authority of the state" p.
As already suggested, religious views have no place in public reason, though they are not the only sort of excluded views.
Faced with conflicts like this, what should be done? They say that to act in the way just described is coercive and fails to show respect for those who hold different conceptions of the good. This argument fails, for one reason, because of the gap between "not hindering" and "obeying" or "accepting the authority of.
What if the majority passes laws that seem to you to lack reason altogether? Once they do that, they can ram through their program, regardless of the objections that come from those with other comprehensive doctrines.
If the state has this obligation, then people have an obligation not to hinder the state in carrying out its proper task. Wolterstorff in one essay offers an argument that people ought to accept the authority of the state.
There never is that degree of agreement; we can say in confidence that there never will be. Mises Review 18, No. If you appeal exclusively to the Bible, you will be manifesting lack of respect for them and endeavoring to coerce them.
Must you accept these laws, simply because the majority backs them? All public reason liberals first declare that citizens of certain sorts are irrelevant to determining the permissibility of advocating in public and voting for some piece of legislation.
If you believe something, then you believe it to be true; but you need not hold that any rational and well-informed person would agree. He accordingly launches a counterattack: It is the coerciveness of legislation that makes reasons of the sort indicated required.
He proposes "the equal right of citizens to full political voice" p. If you have had a fair chance to state your case to the public, but the vote goes against you, then you have not been treated unfairly.Understanding Liberal Democracy presents notable work by Nicholas Wolterstorff at the intersection between political philosophy and religion.4/5(7).
Understanding Liberal Democracy presents notable work by Nicholas Wolterstorff at the intersection between political philosophy and religion. Alongside his influential earlier essays, it includes nine new essays in which Wolterstorff develops original lines of argument and stakes out novel positions regarding the nature of liberal democracy.
While this collection includes some of Wolterstorff's earlier and influential work on the intersection between liberal democracy and religion, it also contains nine new essays in which Wolterstorff stakes out novel positions regarding the nature of liberal democracy, human rights, and political authority.
This book collects Nicholas Wolterstorff's papers in political philosophy. While this collection includes some of Wolterstorff's earlier and influential work on the intersection between liberal democracy and religion, it also contains nine new essays in which Wolterstorff stakes out novel positions regarding the nature of liberal democracy.
understanding liberal democracy: essays in political philosophy By Nicholas Wolterstorff • Edited by Terence Cuneo Oxford University Press,xii+ pgs. Understanding Liberal Democracy presents notable work by Nicholas Wolterstorff at the intersection between political philosophy and religion.
Alongside his influential earlier essays, it includes nine new essays in which Wolterstorff develops original lines of argument and stakes out novel positions regarding the nature of liberal democracy, human rights, and political .Download