Civility and Citizenship in Liberal Democratic Societies

Civility and Citizenship in Liberal Democratic Societies

Civility and Citizenship in Liberal Democratic Societies

Civility and Citizenship in Liberal Democratic Societies

Excerpt

Edward C. Banfield

T he papers brought together here address a crucially important but little regarded question: How do civility and citizenship, aspects of the individual's attachment to a liberal democratic society, affect the nature and future of that society? They were written for the Fourth International Conference of the Professors World Peace Academy which met in London in August 1989. In the words of its organizers, the purpose of the Conference was to "take stock of and to assess, in an historical perspective, the most central achievements and shortcomings of liberal democratic societies." The Conference met in eleven panels; six of the papers printed here were delivered to the panel on Civility and Citizenship; two, those by Professors Kedourie and Weiner, were commissioned later.

The contributors to the panel were not chosen for any agreement that might be presumed to exist among them, apart from devotion to liberal democratic institutions. On the contrary. It was taken for granted that full agreement was neither possible nor desirable and that the purposes of the Conference would be best served if opposing views were vigorously presented. As may be seen from the Note on Contributors, the writers, all but one an American, come from various specialties within social science and political philosophy.

When in the early summer of 1989 the first papers reached the editor, hundreds of thousands of brave men and women were standing shoulder to shoulder in the public squares of China and Eastern Europe holding placards that demanded in one language or another DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM. Here were people who understood all too well the meaning of tyranny and oppression.

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