Tagged: Ordered Liberty (symposium); constitutional law; First Amendment; equal citizenship

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Why the State Can – and Should – Promote Public Values as well as Civic Virtue: A Response to Corey Brettschneider

James E. Fleming & Linda C. McClain

We appreciate that Corey Brettschneider identifies with us as “kindred spirits in the project of developing a liberalism that is both rights protecting and also promotes liberal values.” We also appreciate that he views our book as offering a “powerful challenge” to a “neutralist view” of what a liberal democracy can do to promote its “central values” while also protecting “basic rights.” And we look forward to participating in the upcoming symposium on Concurring Opinions about his book, When the State Speaks, What Should It Say? We are concerned, however, to clear up his evident misunderstandings concerning our book. Thus, when he suggests that his own book has “distinctive features” that “might give us different resources in replying to critics” of the liberal project in which he believes we are “kindred spirits,” he seems to underestimate the resources our own book provides! Namely, he seems to conclude that we view the liberal state’s project as encouraging responsibility and promoting civic virtue, to the exclusion of promoting public values and free and equal citizenship. This is not correct: the fundamental substantive commitment of our Rawlsian constitutional liberalism is to secure the status of free and equal citizenship for all, even though, admittedly, our book’s subtitle is “Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues.” Read More