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Liberalism without Perfection$
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Jonathan Quong

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199594870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594870.001.0001

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Unreasonable Citizens

Unreasonable Citizens

(p.290) 10 Unreasonable Citizens
Liberalism without Perfection

Jonathan Quong

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how political liberals ought to respond to those people the theory labels as ‘unreasonable’. These are people who reject one or more of the fundamental normative assumptions of political liberalism. The author argues that while such persons are rightfully excluded from the constituency of justification in liberal theory, such persons still have the same political status as other citizens, and are thus entitled to the same package of rights and benefits. That package of rights and benefits, however, does not include the right to pursue fundamentalist objectives that might threaten the stability of a liberal regime, or threaten the rights of other liberal citizens. The state therefore may permissibly restrict the actions of unreasonable citizens when those citizens act in ways that threaten the basic liberal norms that underpin a well-ordered society.

Keywords:   education, hate speech, fundamentalism, illiberalism, public justification, public reason, Rawls, toleration, unreasonable persons

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