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The Constitution of EqualityDemocratic Authority and Its Limits$
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Thomas Christiano

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198297475.001.0001

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An Egalitarian Conception of Liberal Rights

An Egalitarian Conception of Liberal Rights

(p.131) 4 An Egalitarian Conception of Liberal Rights
The Constitution of Equality

Thomas Christiano (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that liberal rights — such as the rights of freedom of conscience, freedom of association, and freedom of speech — are grounded in the fundamental interests of persons and the requirement that individuals be treated publicly as equals. The underlying rationale for liberal rights is essentially the same as that for democratic rights — they are grounded in the principle of public equality. The idea that liberal rights are grounded in the principle of public equality has a number of advantages. It captures the fine grained nuance of liberal rights as they are experienced in contemporary liberal societies, and it also captures the strength of liberal rights when they come up against the interests of majorities. The chapter also displays the implications of the book's account for the rule of law, toleration of the intolerant, and responds to a number of possible objections.

Keywords:   freedom of association, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, interests, public equality, rule of law, toleration

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