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Understanding Liberal DemocracyEssays in Political Philosophy$
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Nicholas Wolterstorff and Terence Cuneo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558957.001.0001

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Liberal Democracy as Equal Political Voice

Liberal Democracy as Equal Political Voice

(p.113) 5 Liberal Democracy as Equal Political Voice
Understanding Liberal Democracy

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Terence Cuneo

Oxford University Press

This essay moves beyond critique of public reason liberalism to propose an alternative interpretation of the governing idea of liberal democracy. At the heart of that idea is a commitment to not public reason, as Rawls understands that, but to the equal right of citizens to full political voice – this voice to be exercised within an explicit or implicit constitution that imposes limits and guarantees on government, and within a legal order that protects citizens against impairment of their right to full political voice by their fellow citizens. The resulting position is the equal political voice interpretation of liberal democracy.

Keywords:   constitutional limits, declaration of Independence, duty of civility, equal voice, governing idea of liberal democracy, justificatory liberalism, Kant, idealization, moral demand argument, perfectionism, public reason liberalism, protectionism, Rawls, John, reasonable

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