The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy

By Norman E. Bowie; Robert L. Simon | Go to book overview

Six LIBERTY

Although virtually everyone claims to be a friend of liberty in the abstract, many turn out to be only fair-weather friends in the concrete. Although most Americans willingly pledge allegiance to their flag and to the liberty and justice for which it stands, all too frequently the very values the flag supposedly symbolizes are lost sight of in the heat of controversy. This is especially true of liberty. Liberty enables people to act in ways others cannot control. People are left free to act in ways that some might find repulsive, immoral, and subversive. Too often, those affronted react by trying to limit liberty itself.

Thus, fundamentalist religious groups have tried, with some success, to eliminate from the public schools those textbooks that do not support certain religious and political values. Similarly, guardians of the public's virtue have tried and continue to try, again with some success, to remove controversial books from library shelves. Throughout our history, those who have dissented from official policy often have been faced with economic and even physical retaliation.

Other problems concerning liberty arise, even if those involving its infringement are ignored. Thus, even the staunchest friends of liberty disagree over its scope and limits. Your liberty to swing your arm may end where your neighbor's nose begins. But should you be free to take high

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The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Selected Readings 5
  • One Love It or Leave It? Individual Conscience and Political Authority 7
  • Suggested Readings 26
  • Two Utilitarianism 28
  • Notes 46
  • Notes 47
  • Three Natural Rights: Meaning and Justification 72
  • Notes 74
  • Suggested Readings 75
  • Four Justice 77
  • Suggested Readings 112
  • Five Democracy and Political Obligation 114
  • Suggested Readings 140
  • Six Liberty 141
  • Notes 168
  • Notes 170
  • Seven Law and Order 171
  • Articles 201
  • Eight an Evaluation of Preferential Treatment 202
  • Notes 228
  • Notes 230
  • Nine Ethics and International Affairs 231
  • Notes 257
  • Notes 259
  • Index 260
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