Drugs and the Limits of Liberalism: Moral and Legal Issues


Society's drug problem will persist, and debates over how to solve it will continue, getting nowhere, until we define our terms. This book is an effort to do just that -- to parse the legal, moral, and philosophical underpinnings for any discussion of drug policy.

Does liberal political theory, with its commitment to individual freedom, offer any guidance in the matter of drugs, particularly regarding their legal status? Do the commitments that citizens of liberal democracies make -- commitments to ideals such as rationality, equality, justice, and democratic forms of decision-making -- have implications for drug policy? These are the questions addressed in this volume, which explores the possibilities and limitations of philosophical reflection on this pressing, practical social issue.

The authors, distinguished political and legal philosophers, search out the justification of policies that manage problems of drug consumption and social disintegration, but do so in keeping with the moral andpolitical commitments of a liberal democratic society. Their subjects range from the rationality or irrationality of drug consumption to the scope of liberty; from the proper aims of legislation to the rhetoric of the war on drugs, particularly as deployed by former "Drug Czar" William Bennett.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Pablo De Greiff
  • Jon Elster
  • Thomas Pogge
  • Michael Moore
  • Samuel Freeman
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Ithaca, NY
Publication year:
  • 1999


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