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Liberal Neutrality and the Domain of the Political
Växjö University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Social Sciences.
2009 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Revisiting the debate on individual sovereignty vs. democratic decision making, in this paper a new demarcation line between pre-politically secured individual rights and the domain of the political is proposed. Drawing on the Rawlsian distinction between liberty and what gives worth to liberty, it is argued that state policies affecting individual liberty must be neutral in regard to substantive (and competing) conceptions of the good and therefore pre-politically settled, while policies affecting the distribution of the resources giving worth to liberty may politically decided. Drawing the line thus would provide a wider domain of the political than is done by neutralists such as John Rawls or Ronald Dworkin, but instead restrict the means available to pursue politically decided goals. More specifically, subsidies and support by redistribution of material as well as non-material resources would be allowed, even for non-neutral policies, but not the restriction of one person’s liberty for the perfectionist good of someone else. Finally, following this line of argument, it is suggested that liberal theory should pay less attention to which goals the state may strive towards, and more to how the state may do what it sets out to do.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Chicao, 2009.
Keywords [en]
Liberalism, Neutrality, Individual Sovereignty, Domain of the Political, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:vxu:diva-6377OAI: oai:DiVA.org:vxu-6377DiVA, id: diva2:280607
Conference
Midwest Political Science Association
Available from: 2009-12-10 Created: 2009-12-10 Last updated: 2010-06-17Bibliographically approved

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