Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice

Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice
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Indeed the failure to distinguish ethical neutrality from political neutrality has caused much confusion in the debates surrounding liberal neutrality. Many antineutralists commit the fallacy of equivocating between these two kinds of neutrality when presenting their case. They begin by showing rightly how liberalism cannot be politically neutral, but they conclude falsely that therefore the idea of ethical neutrality is untenable. Accordingly, certain views not permitted in domestic liberal society are deemed permissible if expressed in foreign societies.

It seems that while Rawls would say that a liberal state should criticize a domestic comprehensive view that forbids its members from exercising their public rights like the right to vote in public elections , this same state should not criticize a DHS that denies some of its citizens this same right.

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This seems blatantly inconsistent to me. Why does Rawls hold this position? Rawls does not provide a satisfactory answer here. This will happen whenever someone insists, for example, that certain questions are so fundamental that to insure their being rightly settled justifies civil strife.

At this point we may have no alternative but to deny this, or to imply its denial and hence to maintain the kind of thing we had hoped to avoid. See also , — His other reason for using the two-stage procedure is that this is a methodological preference, with possibly no consequential difference , I shall examine this other reason in due course. Is it because liberal toleration requires that we do? Or is it because DHSs would not endorse the law of peoples otherwise?

As mentioned, liberal toleration in the domestic context does not require toleration of nonliberal politics; indeed it must demand otherwise. Yet Rawls has given us no principled reason why it should be any different in the global context other than the fact of diversity of political cultures in the world. If there is no other explanation for this different account of reasonableness, then it becomes apparent that Rawls is here adjusting liberal principles of justice to suit global diversity, which is a betrayal of his own goal of achieving stability with respect to justice. This is simply a way of immunizing the theory against moral falsification.

In making the case for justice as fairness, and for similar Some critics have presented this charge against Rawls even in his domestic theory. Teson, The falsification in question being the fact that other cultures do not value freedom, human rights, and democracy, as the West does. That is, it is important for Rawls that political liberalism can be demonstrated to have global scope, that its basic ideas can be freely endorsed by some nonliberal societies as well. But if this endorsement is accomplished only by modifying some of the basic tenets of political liberalism in a seemingly ad hoc manner namely, by relaxing the limits of toleration without good reason , then Rawls has not succeeded in demonstrating the global applicability of his theory on his own terms.

To accommodate DHSs, Rawls has his liberal delegates agree on a global theory of justice that is overly generalized and less demanding than a liberal global theory would be. Here, it could be objected that there is nothing counter-intuitive or obviously inconsistent about responding differently to domestic and international nonliberal practices.

A liberal state, as a matter of practice or strategy, cannot always react in the same way to similar kinds of domestic and international violations of liberties given the different conditions of domestic and international societies.

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One obvious instance of this difference is that there is no established enforcement body in global society to enforce judgments that a liberal state may make against nonliberal states. A liberal state cannot pass enforceable laws criminalizing, say, female genital mutilation in another country the way it can within its own borders. But this objection neglects the distinction between making a judgment and acting on that judgment.

That we may be forced to put up with certain illiberal practices overseas because of practical con Nor, indeed, can international agencies like the United Nations enact enforceable global laws given the lack of any international law enforcement body. This distinction was recently pointed out in Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, — We still judge them unacceptable as we do similar domestic abuses even though we may not be able to act on these judgments the way we can in the domestic context. And as I mentioned earlier, there is a normative implication to making this distinction: if we admit that we are unable to act on a judgment because of practical constraints, then we should be ready to act on this judgment once the constraints are lifted.

So there is no synonymity between accommodation as a result of practical constraints and toleration. Mutual respect among societies is certainly crucial if we want to achieve a world order based on equality and fairness, and this is a point I shall return to in Chapter 8.

But critical engagements between countries, including criticisms of nonliberal practices in decent societies, need not necessarily undermine mutual respect, nor wound the self-respect and esteem of these societies and their members. As I shall argue later Chapter 6 , critical judgments of a cultural practice need not be insensitive if these judgments are sincere and carefully trained on specific practices and not hostile to a cultural way of life en bloc.

In moments when liberals are driven by more urgent causes, e. But a culturally sensitive critical engagement between countries on human rights matters need not be wounding in this way. If we accept that nonliberal cultural practices are generally separable features of a culture rather than definitive of it as I shall argue in Chapter 6 , then the fear that cultural criticism risks hurting self-respect can be assuaged. Sincere criticisms informed by cultural sensitivity and local knowledge need not condemn an entire cultural way of life as worthless, but can target only isolated aspects of its way of life.

More important, criticisms informed by local knowledge can also rely on values and customs endemic to a culture to support human rights reform. It is true that undermining the self-respect of a society and its members requires great justification, and, strategically speaking, serves no purpose, for this tends to result in greater isolationism than improvements in human rights. A second important difference between reasonable nonliberal comprehensive doctrines and DHSs that Rawls ignores is that in the case of the former, individual members have recourse to democracy in the political sphere.

They are citizens of a liberal-democratic state besides being members of particular nondemocratic communities. So, even if the internal practices of their communities are undemocratic in nature, members of these communities are still able to exercise their democratic rights in their other capacity as citizens.

I shall say more later on how public policies can affect communal practices. On the other hand, ordinary citizens of DHSs do not have this recourse. Unlike members of nonliberal private associations who are nonetheless free and equal citizens of a larger democratic society, citizens of DHSs are not citizens of any democratic order.

They do not, for example, enjoy democratic global citizenship that may help rectify their lack of democratic rights in their own countries. Therefore, unlike members of nonliberal associations, citizens of hierarchical societies do not have the opportunity to influence democratically external i. Recall that in the second-stage, in the global original position where the principles of global justice are to be fleshed out, it is representatives of societies and not of individuals who are the parties to the hypothetical deliberation.

Accordingly, the two-stage procedure cannot be merely a methodological preference with possibly no consequential differences, as Rawls seems to suggest at one point. It is clear, for example, that individuals reasonably represented behind the veil of ignorance will reject global principles that condone the kinds of institutional arrangements associated with DHSs.

Individuals unlike state delegates know that they could find themselves as lowly placed members of a hierarchical society when the veil is lifted: so, why would they accept global principles that would sanction their possible subordinate status in their own countries? Indeed, the two-stage procedure is especially objectionable if we resociety as a whole. We should try various alternatives and weigh their pluses and minuses. Consequently, not only is there no guarantee of the fairness of these domestic principles, but by allowing only delegates of these societies who tend to be the ones benefiting from their domestic arrangements anyway to be represented at the secondstage deliberation, these delegates are able to settle on global principles that accept their domestic arrangements as beyond rebuke.

But this depends entirely on who speaks for the people. This point is especially crucial because we cannot expect all citizens of a hierarchical society to share a common conception of the public good. Even if we grant the assumption that each state represents a national or cultural entity i. Surely, it is not unrealistic to believe that members of castes or classes at the lower rungs of a hierarchical society would oppose the dominant values and traditions and the established institutional practices of their society were they empowered to do so.

Given that Rawls allows nondemocratically appointed delegates to speak for the citizens of a DHS, we must be very suspicious of the kinds of global principles these delegates will endorse, especially if these principles call for equal toleration between states at the expense of equality between citizens within states. Rawls is not explicit on this, but it seems to me that he must also allow for disagreements at this basic level for the following reasons.

Second, it is quite implausible that members of, say, a caste society objecting to their caste status and the restrictions that follow it will accept, nonetheless, the caste-bound procedures by which their objections may be raised. Opposing the one entails opposition to the other. As such, in accepting the possibility of dissent among members of a DHS, Rawls must also accept that there will also be disagreements over how dissent can be expressed. In other words, a political society meets the essentials of legitimacy for Rawls when its basic structure is organized in accordance with its own history, conventions and traditions.

The global overlapping consensus Rawls presents in his law of peoples is more a political compromise worked out between liberal and nonliberal state delegates than a consensus around genuinely liberal values. Is this a problem of application, that is, a problem arising from a mistaken application of basically sound ideas to the international case, in which case what is to be done is not to reject the teachings of political liberalism but to reapply them correctly?

Or does this in fact highlight a fundamental flaw with political liberalism itself, in which case what we are required to do is to jettison the theory and seek out alternatives? I argue that the toleration problem in the law of peoples is not a problem of application but is an accentuation of a problem inherent in political liberalism itself. The idea of toleration is, of course, shared by all liberals. But individuals are not the only subject of liberal toleration.

Most liberals today in no small measure due to the communitarians as we saw also believe that the state ought to tolerate different group-based ways of life, for example, of through political forms worked out among themselves. I shall revisit this point in Chapter 4. If benevolent absolutisms fail to meet the criteria for liberal toleration because of its failure to permit dissent, so too should DHSs. See Hoffmann, For many liberals, groups whose practices and traditions are antithetical to the liberal aspirations of their own members are not to be tolerated.

So, a group that does not permit its members the right and freedom to reevaluate and revise the internal practices and traditions of the group falls outside the bounds of liberal toleration. This is important, Rawls claims, because liberals should not expect all individuals to have liberal aspirations and therefore we ought not to challenge reasonable ways of life that are not liberal in character. But this extension of toleration to nonliberal views is problematic once we recognize that within any association there are always dissenters or internal minorities.

It is one thing not to expect individuals to be liberals in their private lives , it is quite another not to support whatever liberal aspirations they may have against oppressive group traditions. Surely as a liberal, Rawls cannot remain indifferent if the aspirations of some members of nonliberal reasonable groups to reevaluate and revise their conceptions of the good and their corresponding group practices and institutions are thwarted by their own group traditions. But because of his reluctance to criticize the internal practices of reasonable groups, he seems to have reneged on his liberal commitment to these individual dissenters.

There is, therefore, a serious tension within political liberalism between its toleration of nonliberal reasonable groups and its commitment to the individual liberty of dissenting members of these groups. Now one could argue that in the case of domestic political liberalism, this tension is fortuitously alleviated by two important features of a liberaldemocratic society, features that I shall show to be lacking in the international context.

Thus, liberals have good individualistic reasons for respecting and even supporting when necessary group-based diverse ways of life. Kymlicka, Liberalism, chap. See Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, chap. Let me explain quickly how these two mitigating features might operate in domestic society. The first of these features is straightforward: private associations must permit their members the right to leave and join other associations should they so desire. To deny members this basic right is unreasonable in the Rawlsian sense; denying members the right to leave and join different associations would be contrary to the political idea of citizens as free and equal.

This is one way the political liberal hopes to escape the tension between its dual commitments to group-toleration and individual liberty. The second feature is a little more complicated and invokes the idea of liberal neutrality. Political liberalism, or liberalism for that matter, does not pretend to be neutral in effect as Rawls points out. What liberalism is neutral about is the way policies are justified; they are not to be justified on grounds that some reasonable ways of life are intrinsically superior to others and hence more worthy of state support, or that some are intrinsically inferior and hence ought to be done away with.

But this does not mean that neutrally justified policies cannot have repercussions on the private arrangements of reasonable groups. Neutrality of consequence or effect is impossible to attain as Rawls himself notes. It must be granted that this may indeed happen in the case of some. For the political liberal, this liberalizing effect is an unintended side-effect of a neutrally justified public policy. However, the fact that neutrally justified policies are not neutral in consequences allows the political liberal state to indirectly reform the internal arrangements of reasonable nonliberal groups, thereby protecting and promoting individual liberty the liberal aspiration , without explicitly rejecting these group arrangements as inadmissible the political liberal aspiration.

Thus, we can see how Rawls, at the domestic level, could hope to maintain his toleration for nonliberal reasonable groups without forfeiting his liberal commitment to liberal dissenters within these groups. The trickledown effects of liberal public policies will eventually win the day for them; but in the meantime, should these dissenters find their internal oppression unbearable, they have the state protected right to leave their associations.

However, some commentators have asked whether the right of exit and the liberalizing tendencies of liberal public policies can resolve this tension in political liberalism entirely. They point out that a formal right of exit is of little solace for most people, and that the liberalizing effects of liberal public policies are limited in their reach. For if this were not the case, why would he expect political liberalism to be better able than comprehensive liberalism to secure the basis for legitimate stability?

That is, if the consequences of these two kinds of liberalism on the internal practices of nonliberal reasonable groups are ultimately the same, why would either of these liberal theories be any more acceptable than the other to individuals holding diverse views? On the limits of the liberalizing effects of liberal public policies on private arrangements of the family in particular , see Exdell, , and Okin, So, in order for political liberalism to be a plausible alternative to comprehensive liberalism in the first place, Rawls must concede that the liberalizing tendencies of neutrally justified policies are limited in reach.

But I do not wish to pursue this matter further; my main objective now is to show that as far as the international setting goes, these two alleviating features are conspicuously absent. First, is there a meaningful and substantial right of exit in the international context? Is there such a right in international society? It is true that Rawls insists that well-ordered societies must recognize the right of emigration as a basic human right p. But what is the point of this demand if it is not reinforced by the demand that states also be obliged to accept immigrants?

A right to emigrate from a country without a corresponding right to immigrate to a country is a facile right. Moreover, apart from the issue of whether the right to emigrate is meaningful without the corresponding right to immigrate, there is also the question of individual capacity: Is it reasonable to expect an individual to leave her country of birth if she finds the political institutions of her country unbearably oppressive?

Or, to put it differently, is giving one the right to A similar point has been made by Exdell, — While it could be argued that liberal states have the duty to accept political refugees, it would seem that Rawls cannot classify political dissenters of DHSs as prospective political refugees; to do so would imply critical judgments of the political institutions of the DHSs in question. See Teson, Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, — He says here that if we insist that a right has a point only if its corresponding duty is met, then many rights are without a point—including the right to marry or to make promises p.

But I think this response side-steps the issue. What is at issue is not whether a right itself can have a point if there is no assurance that its corresponding duty be discharged, but whether the choice that the right offers has a point, that is, whether this right offers a reasonable or meaningful choice for action. So when we say that the right to emigrate from is meaningless if not backed up also by some right to immigrate to, we are not suggesting that this right is pointless simply because there is no assurance that it be realized, but rather that this right without the assurance does not give one a meaningful choice to act on.

As Rawls rightly says, we will not say of the right to marry that it is empty just because there is no corresponding duty on any particular person to meet this right. But imagine a case in which the only option a person has out of poverty is to marry any one from a higher economic class. Besides Concerning individual capacity, besides the psychological costs discussed above, there are also economic ones. Ironically, individuals who may have the strongest reason to leave their country are often also the ones most badly exploited and hence least able to muster the financial resources necessary for travel, documentation, and other immigration related expenses.

I owe this point to David Dyzenhaus. The right to marry, in this context—as a route out of poverty—would be meaningless, but, again, not simply because there is no assurance that its corresponding obligation be met, but rather because the choice this right offers—absent the assurance—is not significant or real. Consider next the liberalizing effects of liberalism. Is there any global liberalizing effect on nonliberal regimes?

It is not clear if it does, at least in any substantive sense. What kinds of global policies would have liberalizing effects on the domestic institutions of DHSs? Obviously, the one policy Rawls refers to in his domestic theory, that of a liberal public education, is not available in the international scene—there is no global educational policy, no global public schools all the children of the world are expected to attend. Likewise, some liberals argue that public policies aimed at improving gender equality can have positive effects in the homes and private associations e. Moreover, because Rawls insists that the internal political arrangements of DHSs are off limits to political criticism and economic sanctions pp.

The one possible liberalizing tendency I can think of in the global setting would be the effects of cultural exchanges. Films, books, intellectual exchanges, and art play an important role in educating and raising public awareness and in informing individuals of the world of different possibilities and options. Of course, other liberals object to this line of argument; see Exdell and Okin. The point here is that this is an argument the political liberal can at least attempt in the domestic setting.

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More so than with public policies in the domestic case, it is unlikely that global practices and policies can eventually turn the tide against oppressive traditions in favour of these dissenters within a reasonable time span, especially if these are state sanctioned oppressions. This tension is most vividly exposed and left entirely unremedied in the globalized version of the theory because of the special conditions of the international realm.

In extending his domestically conceived theory to cover international relations, Rawls, inadvertently and very ironically, has rendered more visible this fundamental problem with political liberalism. The problem of toleration in The Law of Peoples is not so much a problem of application as an accentuation of an inherent theoretical problem.

Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice

As mentioned, this is how many critics of comprehensive liberalism interpret J. Though Rawls considerably extended and modified his theory in his final book, the criticism cited here can be regarded as valid for both his article and his book. The first of these features is straightforward: private associations must permit their members the right to leave and join other associations should they so desire. In other words, toleration is a requirement for justice and for this reason; we should respect the status of other cultures as equal. Moral relativism holds that values are relative to culture or context.

But a sound political theory cannot wait to be saved from internal tensions by fortuitous and contingent social circumstances—there is no guarantee that these circumstances will always be obtained, as they have not at the global level. It is thus able to secure a global theory better able to protect the rights and freedoms of persons universally.

I shall develop this claim in the next three chapters. I call these circumstances i contingent because, as I pointed out, the significance of a formal right of exit is contingent on other conditions being in place, there being somewhere else to go to for one, and ii fortuitous because for the political liberal the liberalizing effects of liberal policies on nonliberal reasonable associations are unintended and fortuitous sideeffects. I then suggested that comprehensive liberalism does not face this particular tension and can, therefore, secure a more coherent liberal global theory. Also, to fix the debate and to keep it in line with the main theme of this book, I shall, when talking about social groups, focus primarily though not exclusively on ethno-cultural groups rather than on some other types of nonpolitical association.

Finally, while Rawls himself does not deal explicitly with cultural groups in his domestic theory but more with comprehensive views specifically, his comments about comprehensive views are clearly applicable to such groups. Cultural ways of life are informed typically by certain encompassing philosophical, moral, or even religious comprehensive views. That the principles relevant to comprehensive views apply also to cultural groups is, of course, confirmed by Rawls himself in The Law of Peoples, where, as we saw, he treats some national cultures i.

For example, comprehensive liberals do not all agree on whether to adopt the neutralist or perfectionist model of liberalism. Consequently, they can also differ over whether to adopt, say, a utilitarian or a duty-based liberal theory. For example, two comprehensive liberals who disagree on this point are Joseph Raz, who proposes a perfectionist liberalism, and Will Kymlicka, who defends a neutralist liberalism. What would be the most correct interpretation of comprehensive liberalism is an issue I leave aside. In other words, because it remains grounded on this comprehensive moral commitment to autonomy, comprehensive liberalism maintains that the value of autonomy holds in all areas of society and that the state should therefore protect and promote individual autonomy throughout.

This privileging of autonomy does not surrender my present agnosticism about the moral basis of liberalism. Utilitarians can very well affirm the primacy of autonomy as a liberal value. For the comprehensive liberal, a social unit e. It will be critical not only of illiberal groups i. In other words, comprehensive liberalism requires that communities not only be politically liberal but internally liberal as well. Liberalism is committed to perhaps even defined by the view that individuals should have the freedom and capacity to question and possibly revise the traditional practices of their community.

Sumner, — Whereas political liberals caution that liberal ideals need not apply within associations like the family or the church,8 comprehensive liberals are able, and required as a matter of principle, to take a stance against autonomy-compromising arrangements within these associations; they will deem such matters appropriate political concerns. While political liberalism eschews its comprehensive philosophical and moral doctrines, and therefore deprives itself of the basis upon which to judge the internal practices of nonliberal groups, comprehensive liberalism remains openly and unapologetically grounded on its comprehensive moral commitments.

It hence retains the moral basis for judging and criticizing the internal practices of nonliberal comprehensive 7. Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community and Culture, — Rawls, Political Liberalism, e. See, in particular, Exdell, Okin, and Phillips. Thus comprehensive and political liberals hold different conceptions of liberal toleration.

For comprehensive liberals, the principle of toleration is derived from its more fundamental moral commitment to ethical autonomy and is not the fundamental liberal commitment itself. Ronald Dworkin prefers to speak of liberal equality instead of autonomy, but we may leave this difference aside and follow his general argument.

Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice

But liberal toleration, understood in this way, is only instrumental for realizing this fundamental commitment to individual equality and not the fundamental commitment itself. Political liberalism, on the other hand, grants toleration a fundamental rather than a derivative status. As I mentioned, political liberals want the liberal state to refrain from making judgments beyond the political realm because they believe that there is simply no uncontentious or reasonable basis for making such judgments.

Because of the fact of reasonable disagreement, any state imposition of particular comprehensive views, including liberal ones, would itself be illegitimate. This belief that there can be no reasonably universally shared comprehensive moral or philosophical views is what motivates the liberal project in the first place for the political liberal. As I said then, even if we grant the difference in emphasis between Dworkin and other comprehensive liberals regarding the touch-stone value of liberalism, the relevant point here is that comprehensive liberals take toleration to be derivative of a more fundamental moral ideal.

In his Tanner Lectures, Ronald Dworkin shows in greater detail how the different starting premises of the two models of liberalism result in two very different ideas of toleration. At any rate, the basic point is that toleration to repeat, reconceived as a matter of principle and not a matter of stability per se is one of the central motivating values of liberalism.

It is important not to misunderstand political liberalism here. Rather, their position is that reasonable disagreement requires that the scope of autonomy be reduced and confined to the political sphere; accordingly, only as long as full political autonomy is secured does the toleration principle come into effect.

But, for the political liberal, autonomy understood in this limited sense is the only viable restriction on toleration; there is simply no available basis for imposing a stricter standard. It is in this sense that political liberalism must take toleration rather than autonomy to be its core value. And as long as liberalism is presented detached from its own comprehensive doctrine i. In other words, the freestanding aspiration of political liberalism restricts its conception of liberal autonomy; it cannot insist on autonomy as its core value because that would be inconsistent with its own rejection of ethical ological axiom of ethical neutrality, that it is part of the point of the entire constructive exercise to secure as much ethical neutrality as possible.

It hopes that the liberal ethics it constructs will not only appeal to people who have very different substantive views about the good life, but also provide reasons why each of them should be tolerant of the others. Though both strategies defend tolerance, they arrive at different interpretations of that virtue, and therefore different conceptions of liberalism. To recall an argument made earlier Chapter 1 , the justification of a political theory constrains the scope of that theory.

In response to this, political liberals might say that this tension between liberty and toleration is a price liberal theory has no option but to pay given the contentious nature of comprehensive philosophical and moral doctrines. Considering the fact that even liberals themselves cannot agree on these matters e. Thus, we have no choice, they would argue, but to set aside these squabbles over comprehensive philosophical and moral claims, and concentrate on presenting a liberal theory acceptable to all even if that theory exhibits certain flaws. In other words, while political liberals like Rawls accept that liberal political theory is founded on certain comprehensive moral and philosophical views with, I think, the philosophical presumably the most fundamental in that this is what ultimately grounds the moral doctrine , these foundational claims are contested by reasonable individuals, and so they take the more urgent task to be that of presenting a liberal theory that is independent of any foundational commitments by detaching liberalism from such commitments.

Comprehensive liberalism remains openly grounded on its comprehensive moral commitments and hence is a morally more rigorous theory; but its disadvantage is that it comes saddled with contentious philosophical and moral claims about the foundation of liberalism, and hence risks becoming another sectarian doctrine. But does it successfully avoid this matter entirely?

Rawls, Political Liberalism, , my emphasis. But when confronted by unreasonable views i. It is far from clear what an appeal to a partially comprehensive view is supposed to mean. I assume that it means we are to present our comprehensive view starting from the least contentious and the most general ideas, avoiding its more fundamental and controversial points as far as possible, invoking progressively more contentious points only if the previous less contentious arguments are themselves challenged. See also and —51 for other instances of relying on comprehensive views to defend and sustain political liberal ideals.

What it means, simply, is that the state now has a justification for denying him or her this demand, for showing why he or she is being unreasonable, and to put him or her away if necessary. No state, liberal or not, can avoid the use of coercion. The crucial point is how and when this can be justified. This is a point I return to briefly in the next section. The issue at hand concerns not so much whether intervention is warranted, but the earlier step of identifying our moral stance. Moreover, as we noted in passing above, the contentiousness of such a move is supposedly allayed by ensuring that we do not invoke a fully comprehensive view if this is not necessary.

Rawls does not dwell much on these fundamental challenges, but in order to understand why political liberalism must resort to foundational claims in the fundamentalist example above and not simply appeal, say, to the political values endorsed in the overlapping consensus, we may recognize that challenges to any political theory can occur at two different levels. On one level, a challenge can be directed at the substantive principles enjoined by the theory. Challenges of this sort are not fundamental philosophical challenges and can be countered by reference to the internal coherence or logic of the theory, by showing why, if the basic premises of the theory are accepted, its conclusions i.

On the other hand, a challenge can come from a more fundamental level, this time directed at the very idea of that political theory itself. That is, one can challenge not just the substantive values affirmed by political liberalism, but the very premises or justification of political liberalism itself. This fundamental challenge, or second-order challenge, questions, for example, why the idea of political autonomy is an appropriate moral starting point; that is, it questions the very justification for the overlapping consensus. Against these kinds of challenges, it is of no effect to refer to the internal coherence or logic of the theory, for here the bases of the theory are the very points of contention.

The political liberal is forced to go beyond the political values affirmed in the overlapping consensus to show why the very premises that gave rise to this consensus are themselves warranted. In which case, she may have to invoke, say, a Kantian account of rationality and autonomy or a Millian idea of well-being and individuality, to defend her premises.

However, there are two observations to be made in response here. First, even if it is true that second-order challenges against political liberalism are rare, the possibility of their occurrence shows that any attempt to detach liberalism from its comprehensive support is in principle futile. So long as we can imagine cases, as does Rawls, of second-order challenges, political liberalism cannot in principle avoid the foundation issue. But more to the point, most first-order challenges, directed at the substantive values of a political theory at, say, the values enjoined in the overlapping consensus when examined closely or pushed are revealed to be second-order challenges.

For example, it is often not sufficient to tell a cultural community that, say, discourages its female members from participating in public elections that it is violating the full political autonomy of some persons. It would, more often than not, when so countered, demand to know why full political autonomy is morally worthwhile in the first place. Most nonliberal views are views that ultimately challenge not merely the substantive values of political liberalism but the idea of political liberalism itself. In short, second-order challenges are more common than Rawls had hoped.

This has led some professed political liberals, like Steve Macedo, to be candid about the comprehensive commitments of liberalism. For example, Kantian liberals can disagree over whether pornography is permissible or not. Here the disagreement in not over the fundamental moral commitments of liberalism, but over what those commitments entail in terms of policy and how to best realize these commitments in the real world.

Features & Highlights

For a good part of its history, international relations theory was dominated by the school sometimes known as International Realism, which held the view that. Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice [Kok-Chor Tan] on ykoketomel.ml *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The "comprehensive liberalism" defended in this.

Macedo, , my emphasis. And it is difficult to know how it can be avoided since free and equal citizens are citizens, who, among other views, might have or develop views that challenge political liberalism. Whereas comprehensive liberals can, as a matter of principle, appeal to its comprehensive moral principles when countering challenges to liberalism itself, political liberals must resort to ad hoc legal and political maneuvres, and reinvoke moral principles it has hitherto considered too controversial to be affirmed politically.

But it is this discretionary invocation of foundational claims that makes political liberalism especially vulnerable to the traditional charge that liberalism is contradictory. Within political liberalism, nothing more need be said. It is this vacillation of political liberalism between its abstinence from truth claims and its appeal to them when pushed, that makes it especially vulnerable to the critique of the Fascist philosopher Carl Schmitt that liberalism is contradictory. It asserts its truth against every challenge.

But it is also political in just the contradictory way Schmitt thought liberalism had to be. It denies that it claims truth and so it claims to be neutral between all positions. Of course, Rawls cannot mean here that we simply ignore these challenges; liberalism is under direct threat after all. What he means is that these antiliberal views are to be put down or contained without further justification or explanation. This avoidance of appealing to liberal comprehensive views to warrant the putting down of these challenges, it seems then, is for the sake of democratic legitimacy—the state should offer only reasons that its citizens can reasonably accept.

But this strategy of avoidance seems to me to, ironically, violate a most basic criterion for democratic legitimacy: that the state offers some justification for its actions, even if these are self-justificatory ones. It has to explain why unreasonable views are unreasonable and therefore deserving of the sanction of the state. It has to show how these challenges violate the bounds of public reason as determined by the liberal political culture of the state, and why that political culture is worth defending and preserving. At this point, as I have argued, the liberal state has to invoke certain philosophical claims to back its judgements and sanctions, and not simply pass and enforce them in silence.

To repeat, it is appreciated that the motivation for political liberalism is the quest for a liberalism more consistent with the requirements of legitimacy and democratic citizenship. But as argued above, the values of democratic citizenship themselves can come under attack and these challenges need to be confronted. And legitimacy would require that we give reasons even if these are contentious for our standing-by these values.

If political liberalism is more democratic than comprehensive liberalism, it is also more democratic to the point where it cannot legitimately defend democracy itself; if it is more democratic, it is more democratic at a very high cost. In other words, not only is it impossible to avoid making comprehensive philosophical or foundational claims altogether in political philosophy, but in his attempt to circumvent this issue, Rawls renders his liberal theory spineless enough that it cannot defend or justify itself in a principled manner.

But my aim here is not to offer a full-fledged defence of liberalism, which must no doubt confront this challenge, but only to defend one conception of liberalism against another. My goal above was only to show that political liberalism cannot in the end avoid the foundation question, and thus this problem is not one unique to comprehensive liberalism. But if this aspiration is unattainable, this trade-off serves no purpose.

But this charge against comprehensive liberalism rests on a mistaken assumption of the kinds of political strategies it must resort to. Few comprehensive liberals today endorse the strong thesis that the liberal state ought to vigorously enforce and impose all its moral judgments. Hampton has argued for the nonneutrality of the foundation of liberalism in some depth see — But while she takes this foundational moral commitment to be implicit in political liberalism, I showed above that Rawls explicitly, if reluctantly, admits to this reliance.

John Stuart Mill, as he is commonly interpreted including by Rawls, Political Liberalism, 37 , would be an example of a strong comprehensive liberal. For example, a state may feel that to enforce its judgment even if it believes it to be right against a cultural group is not only contrary to the accepted democratic procedures of that society and perhaps therefore a great harm in itself but also self-defeating without assent by sufficient members of the group.

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But not intervening does not imply not acting at all on a judgment. Comprehensive liberals can deploy state i. And it certainly would be too hasty to rule these nonoppressive means of sustaining liberal ideals as ineffectual. But because Rawls does not allow direct state involvement in contentious issues of this sort, for reasons we will come to in the next section, he will not endorse these policies.

Thus comprehensive liberalism need not necessarily impose its judgments always but aims, foremost, to draw the involved parties into dialogue and deliberation. The liberal-democratic state, of course, takes sides in the debate here, but the impetus for actual change has still to come from within, with the widespread endorsement of group members themselves. It is by exercising caution against state intervention, and encouraging and engendering reform from within, that comprehensive liberalism can hope to liberalize internal arrangements without acting intrusively in the process.

If we understand comprehensive liberalism in this weaker form, there is less worry that rejecting political liberalism in favor of comprehensive liberalism risks excessive state intervention. Its more restricted view of toleration does not imply a more permissive view of state coercion and intervention. To be sure, urging caution against intervention does not mean that intervention is always ruled out. When oppressive group-based practices are serious enough, causing direct physical or permanent psychological harm—as in the case of forceful religious conversions or disallowing apostasy, female genital mutilation, withholding of medical treatment from seri That is, the state can rule these practices as illegal or even criminal and punish transgressors.

Of course, it is important that coercive measures are supplemented by noncoercive ones, like education, providing incentives for reform, and so forth, which would hopefully in time render obsolete the need for coercive preventive measures. But in the meantime, liberals would what other choice do they have? And while the political liberal may aspire to provide a solely political justification as to why intervention is warranted here, in the end, as we have seen, he or she too must appeal to her comprehensive moral doctrine when justifying denunciation of these practices.

Thus, the philosophical basis for state intervention in extreme cases is no more controversial for comprehensive liberalism than for political liberalism. There is, therefore, another but related important distinction between strong comprehensive liberalism e.

While the Millian liberal would not only be supportive of individuals who want liberal ideas to apply to their entire life, but also expect everyone to actually live a questioning and experimenting life-style, few contemporary liberals actually hold such an expectation. It is beyond the scope of this work to go into a discussion as to when precisely an intervention is justified. While it is clear that intervention is permissible and even obligatory in extreme cases, there are grey areas where it is less obvious whether this might be the case.

Some of the relevant factors to be taken into account and balanced against each other include the severity of the violation, the cost of intervening to both agent and target and by-standing parties , the availability and feasibility of other courses of action and the probability of success of the intervention.

As mentioned, this is how many critics of comprehensive liberalism interpret J. Comprehensive liberalism does not urge the state to unilaterally liberalize nonliberal cultural practices on the belief that this would be in the best interest of the members of a given community, their own preferences notwithstanding. Rather it demands that the state do so only out of support for those members who are themselves critical of their communal practices but whose own efforts are thwarted.

That is to say, liberalizing cultures is in the perceived interests of dissenting individuals who want to reform practices they find oppressive. He who does anything because it is the custom makes no choice. He gains no practice either in discerning or in desiring what is best. The mental and moral, like the muscular, powers are improved only by being used. This phrase is from Mill, Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, 82, my emphasis. Tamir notes that we should not commit the fallacy of equating choice with actual change 20— So one who abides by customary practices after having thought about and reflected on his or her options has actually made a choice; that is, the choice to retain his or her beliefs and practices.

Liberal civic education is one prime example of a liberal policy that aims not so much at supporting the liberal aspirations of some against oppressive traditions as at inculcating in individuals liberal aspirations and ideals. Because liberalism prides itself on being a thoroughly antipaternalistic political morality, seemingly paternalistic liberal policies, like secular public education, present a very important and knotty challenge for liberals. But for my purpose, which is an evaluation of comprehensive liberalism against political liberalism, I need show only that political liberalism faces this troubling question also, and hence fares no better in this regard.

Without pretending to settle the problem of paternalism here, it seems to me that there are two different strategies available to the liberal. He or she could on the one hand admit that such liberal policies are paternalistic but justify this paternalism on some other higher moral ground. In short, nonpaternalism carries only prima facie weight that could be overridden when more fundamental moral values are at stake. Or, adopting a completely different strategy, he or she could argue that these policies are only seemingly paternalistic, but because they in fact are choice enabling rather than choice restricting in the long-run, they are actually antipaternalistic.

But as said, I leave aside any confrontation with this question, which is a task reserved for a project offering a complete defense of liberalism. It is worth noting in greater detail the difference between the political liberal and comprehensive liberal here. Political liberals will not say that liberalism is a competing idea, but rather that it is a neutral or impartial one in the midst of competing ideas. In other words, the political liberal would claim to be an umpire between different competing ideas.

So, secular education is not offered as a competitor to, say, religion, but as the adjudicator between different religions. Comprehensive liberals, on the other hand, would bite the bullet when pushed, conceding that liberalism is another competing belief an atheistical one at that among others in a pluralistic society. But it does not forcibly impose this belief; it only offers it as another option for individuals to reject or accept. In their eyes, each strategy is as paternalistic as the other, if either is.

If liberal education is indeed paternalistic recall I leave this question open , the only difference between comprehensive and political liberalism is that the latter unsuccessfully tries to deny it whereas the former admits to it. To summarize my argument so far: political liberalism is offered as an account of liberalism most compatible with the ideals of democratic legitimacy. Now, to be exact, political liberalism permits reasonable nonpolitical associations to nonviolently promulgate and publicize their beliefs and values, and to question those of others. For example, members of religious groups are free to seek out new converts by preaching on street corners, taking up advertising spots in the newspapers or other public spaces, organizing public rallies, distributing literature from door-to-door, and so on.

On the contrary, Rawls must maintain that individuals are free to use their own resources to discuss, debate, and promote their beliefs in the public sphere—how could a liberal say otherwise?

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As we saw, what he objects to is the use of state power a public power shared by all equally to support the moral views of some over others i. He wants controversial comprehensive views kept out of the political arena, not the social as such, a crucial difference many of his critics miss. But the difference between the two is, upon some reflection, actually quite pervasive. Comprehensive liberals permit the state to take sides albeit Rawls, Political Liberalism, 61, my emphasis.

Gutmann and Thompson, , Rawls, Political Liberalism, n. It seems to me an even clearer way of putting forth the distinction, which surprisingly Rawls does not offer, is in terms of political versus social. This is a significant divergence because the state has access to social and cultural resources e. Moreover, the state also has an ubiquitous influence on a society and its citizens that private associations lack. Political institutions are just more encompassing and pervasive than nonpolitical ones, as Rawls himself has noted in his brief discussion of the nonneutral effects of the liberal state.

On the other hand, comprehensive liberalism, because of its comprehensive moral commitments, retains its capacity for making judgments about these matters. But this difference is not merely theoretical: as pointed out, comprehensive liberalism would allow the state to take sides in moral matters even though it cautions against legal intervention; political liberalism would require that the state remain wholly uninvolved. Why is Rawls so reluctant to allow the state to support and promote a comprehensive liberal morality?

The reason, as is evident, is that Rawls conflates political judgment or power with political coercion. Just to cite two examples. But since this coercive power of the state is equally shared by all citizens, it is illegitimate for the state to use it to support some contentious views, even if these are liberal ones, against others.

Brian Z. Faith in Schools? Ian MacMullen. Peter Kivisto. Rethinking equality. Chris Armstrong. State and Class. Ralph Pettman. Ecological Politics and Democratic Theory. Mathew Humphrey. Why Democracy Needs Public Goods. Angela Kallhoff. Human Rights: Moral or Political? Adam Etinson. Citizenship under Fire. Sigal R. The Oxford Handbook of Citizenship. Ayelet Shachar. Freedom and Democracy in an Imperial Context. Robert Nichols. Just and Unjust Interventions in World Politics. Globalization and Popular Sovereignty. Adam Lupel. Theories of Democracy.

Frank Cunningham. Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory. Colin Farrelly. Keith Faulks. Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics. Elizabeth F. Forms of Justice. Daniel A. Democratic Innovation.

Index of Contents

Michael Saward. Lived Fictions. John Grant.

Democracy in a Global World. Deen K. Jorge Valadez. Radical Democracy. David Trend. Akwalefo Bernadette Djeudo. Democracy after Virtue. Sungmoon Kim. Patrick Hayden. Future States. Stephen Paul Haigh. Liberalism and Pluralism. Richard Bellamy. Essay on Liberalism. Immigration and the Constraints of Justice.

Ryan Pevnick. Global Democracy and Exclusion. Ronald Tinnevelt. Legitimacy, Justice and Public International Law. Lukas H. Democratic Community. John W. Citizenship between Past and Future. George J. Sefa Dei. The Scandal of the State. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan. The Idea of Global Civil Society. Randall Germain. What is this thing called Global Justice?

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