Theoretical Foundations of Liberalism Author(s): Jeremy Waldron Source: The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 147 (Apr., 1987), pp.

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Vol. ThePhilosophical Quarterly 37 No. 147 ISSN 0031-8094 $2.00

Vol.37 No. 147

1987 April

THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF LIBERALISM
BY JEREMYWALDRON

Winner 1986Essay Prize of
I

are and The terms 'conservatism', 'liberalism' like surnames 'socialism', thatshareone ofthesenamesoften and parties and thetheories, principles of withone another thanthemembers do nothavemuchmorein common If a widelyextendedfamily. we examinethe range of views that are classified under any one of these labels,we mayfindwhatWittgenstein network similarities of as referred in anothercontext "a complicated to someand criss-crossing...sometimesoverall similarities, overlapping to of timessimilarities detail";' butwe are unlikely find set ofdoctrines any of or principles thatare held in common all of them, by anysinglecluster or thatmight regarded thecore be as theoretical practical and propositions in the essence the ideology question. of "liberal" "socialist" or or thisis because thosewhocall themselves Partly control overtheuse like "conservative" have neverhad anything complete an of thatterminology: opponentis oftenhappyto call a view 'liberal' But wouldrepudiate. mostly is because of it whichmanyselfstyled liberals and it is the way politicaltheories have developed.With the exception, in of developedexplicitly the quite a recentexception, socialistthought wake of Karl Marx and under the auspices of the First and Second Internationals, politicaltheoriesin the West have not been developed rubric classification. or Locke did not underanyideological selfconsciously in write TwoTreatises orderto be a liberal, morethanBurkewrote the any in in on Reflections theRevolution France orderto be a conservative. Rather, of a of each was developedas a theory government, theory society, a or theoryof political economy,and was intended to be judged as a and contribution a debate thatknewno ideologicalfrontiers in which to almostall thinking By people of thetimewereinterested. the same token,
1 L. tr.G. Philosophical (Oxford, 1968),p. 32e. Investigations, E. M. Anscombe Wittgenstein,

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thesebodies of theory were not developedin isolation from one another. Fromthepointofviewof themodern seem hopelessly classifications, they would think eclecticand impure pieces of work.Those we call "liberals" of respondingto, drawingon, or admitting having been to nothing or influenced the worksof those we call "conservatives" "socialists". by And so it is fruitless, onlyto look fora core of common not characteristics, or peculiar but also to think thatwe can finddistinguishing characteristics from viewsin another. whichdifferentiate viewsin one tradition Liberal the conservative's concern for moderatismfades into conservatism; matchesthe socialist's;the socialistclaimsto take the liberal community thanthe liberalsthemselves; so and concernforfreedom more seriously we on. To push the metaphor littlefurther, are dealingnot onlywith a in but of cases of "family resemblance", withresemblances the context have engagedoverthe three(or more)greatfamilies which, rivals, though and in centuries extensive intermarriage alliance.Indeed it is plausibleto of we that arguethatin thecase of socialism, are talking a new family has an so we brokenawayfrom olderliberalstock;2 thatoften mustexpectto in which quite closelyresemble findcharacteristics a "socialist"theory thoseof theirrepudiated liberalcousins. In thisessay,I wantto arguethat viewabout liberalism restson a certain and the justification social arrangements, that this view helps us to of between and understand some of the differences some of the similarities I liberalism and other ideologies.Briefly, shall argue that liberalsare for and of and committed a conception freedom ofrespect thecapacities to the agencyof individual men and women,and thatthese commitments be a that generate requirement all aspectsofthesocialshouldeither made I to last or acceptable be capableofbeingmadeacceptable every individual. like it underpins believe thatthisview or-something manyof the most liberalpositions. characteristic distinctive and But,as I have formulated it, and theremaybe the view is one thatmanyliberalsmaynot recognize, of beliefs thatcan be supported otheraspectsof their independently these ideas. I do not want to deny that. What followsis "one view of the of ofthe that so a cathedral", to speak:3 reconstruction foundations liberalism in of of maybe fertile the generation new ideas in thistradition political theory. I am But though thereis thisaspectofrational reconstruction, notgoing or that thatare self-evident arguments are to attribute liberals to premises in There are some verydeep tensions the liberalviewof uncontroversial.
2 See in LarrySiedentop,"Two Liberal Traditions" Alan Ryan(ed.) TheIdea ofFreedom (Oxford, 1979), p. 153. 3 Cf. G. Calabresiand A. D. Rules and Inalienability: Melamed,"Property Rules,Liability Law Review (1972), p. 1089. Harvard 85 One View of the Cathedral",

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and society, humannature, freedom and it would be a poor accountthat to to wanting concealor underestimate sought coverthemup. So farfrom in I thetensions, difficulties theliberal and tradition,hope theaccountthat I am goingto givewillhelp to cast some lighton themas well.4 II and and between 'liberalism' 'liberty'; an Etymology suggests association broadwhile the word 'liberal' has other connotations of generosity, aboutthe and tolerance it is clear enoughthata conviction mindedness of individual freedom lies close to the heartof most liberal importance political positions. to this Of course,even a generalization vague maybe difficult sustain. to committed an ideal insists thatliberals moredeeply are RonaldDworkin of equality than to any ideal of liberty,and he even rejects the a view that liberalpoliticsconsistsin striking distinctive commonplace commitment a ideals.5Certainly strong balance betweenthesecompeting in to liberty the economicsphere is more likelyto be associatedwith as than conservatism withliberalism, particularly thosetermsare political in of for understood North freedom contract, America. Those whoplead for to of the freedom property-ownersdo as they please withtheirland, and of of bureaucratic forthe liberation businessfrom maythink regulation, will but themselves "libertarians"; they be as anxiousas their as opponents thesepositions. thatthe term'liberal'shouldnot be used to characterize liberalsare thatthosewho do call themselves it However, does not follow about liberty, even in economiclife. For one thing, unconcerned many economists have abused and wrongfully liberalswill arguethatright-wing to the theyaffect be concernedwith appropriated languageof freedom: but it turnsout to be the freedomof only a few freedomgenerally, of are aboutand notthefreedom thosethey businessmen they worried that of rights. by exploitor those constrained the enforcement theirproperty ideal will theseliberals say,is an unattractive Freedomforthefew, political for and it since,underplausibleassumptions, meansoppression constraint for ideal wouldbe equal freedom everyone.6 the many.A moreattractive
this are of 4 Though the difficulties the liberaltradition recognized, is not an exercisein The of (Boston,1968) or alongthelinesofR. P. Wolff, Poverty Liberalism pathology ideological Reason(Chicago, 1981). T. A. Spragens,TheIrony Liberal of 5 A in "Liberalism" his collection Matter Principle Mass., Ronald Dworkin, (Cambridge, of 1985), pp. 188-91. is to that too 6 It cannot be stressed strongly a commitment equalfreedom nota compromise of is does in thatformula to pin downtheform What'equality' and freedom equality. between does is to indicatewhatit is thatwe are and what'freedom' to our commitment freedom; thatitis absurdto are to concerned equalize.The twoconcepts ofsuchdifferent logicaltypes them. a talkof striking balance between

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that But it is unlikely thatis goingto justify like anything thecharacteristic and economics.In otherwords,thereare of positions New Rightpolitics to the in commitment freedom which "libertarianism" with resources a liberal can of economicconservatives be opposed.7 in Secondly,we should recall thateven if liberty economiclife is an of a concern moder liberalism, commitment individual to uncharacteristic freedomin other areas is absolutelycentral.In politics,liberals are freedom speech,association, civil of and to committed intellectual freedom, In therealmofpersonal raisetheir banners for liberties life, they generally. of beliefand practice, freedom lifestyle, freedom and freedom religious of in for involved) regard (provided againthatit is genuinefreedom everyone the use of drugsand all marital to sexualpractices, affairs, pornography, that Dworkin maintains thesepositions liberalconcerns. are thosefamiliar a to of from fundamental commitment equality concernand all derivative at of but respect;8 it seems to me thatequality respect, least,cannotbe to about the in reference a conviction understood thiscontext exceptby of liberty everyone). (for importance Freedomor liberty a concept is of A third pointis muchmoreimportant. are Since some of theseconceptions whichthereare manyconceptions.9 to it not associatedwiththe liberaltradition, is unsatisfactory say simply and there. to thatliberalsare committed (equal) liberty leave the matter has of and The debate over the properconception liberty been bitter liberals(but who might who call themselves be sometimes deadly.Many or labelled "conservatives" "libertarians" theiropponents)take their by a of a standon whatis termed "negative" conception liberty: person'sliberty to he obstruction is simply extent which can actunconstrained literal the by to as This viewis referred byitsopponents an from or interference others. "infantile"or "philistine"theoryof freedom,while "impoverished", describeless negative as libertarians themselves conceptions "fraudulent" and singlemindedness The intensity with and potentially "despotic".10 in are whichpositions takenare defended thisdebateis surprising. Liberty in and is a conceptwhichcaptureswhatis distinctive important human exerciseof powersof individual agencyas such and in the untrammelled of initiation action.Surelyno-one choice,and theintentional deliberation,
7 The argument in has alludedto hereis one that been made mostpersuasively thesocialist tr. tradition: e.g., P.-J.Proudhon,Whatis Property?, B. Tucker (New York,1970); and see, in G. A. Cohen, "Capitalism, Freedom,and the Proletariat" Ryan,op. cit.,pp. 10-17. 8 Op. cit.,pp. 192 ff. 9See John Rawls,A Theory Justice Mass., 1971), p. 5; see also Ronald of (Cambridge, (London, 1978), pp. 134-6. Dworkin, Seriously Taking Rights 10 For these and similar see epithets, e.g. CharlesTaylor,"What'sWrongWithNegative in Griffiths, Liberty?" Ryan,op. cit.,p. 193; K. Minogue,"Freedomas a Skill"in A. Phillips (Oxford,1969), 1983), p. 200; Isaiah Berlin,FourEssayson Liberty Of Liberty (Cambridge, in op. pp. xlivand 131-72; and A. Flew, "Freedomis Slavery" PhillipsGriffiths, cit.

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believethatwhatthisis is something or can really simpleor self-evident, in thattherecan can neverbe honestdisagreements this area. Human of agency,will, and the initiation action is a profoundly complicated business: it is the locus of one of the most intractable problemsin and and metaphysics, it is also thesourceof someofthedeepestexultation in humanexperience. Our sense of whatit is to have and exercise despair of freedom bound up withour conception ourselves personsand of is as to and the causal orderof the our relation value, otherpeople, society, world. From the point of view of moral and politicalphilosophy, then, humanagencyis a rich seam of value whichcompeting of conceptions I do not want to suggestthat rival freedommine in differing ways. shouldbe immune from But of criticism. justbecause conceptions freedom and complexity thisseam of value,it seems odd fora of of the richness of to this philosopher say: "Here is myconception freedom; is all thereis all are utterly and to freedom; other unintelligible unappealing conceptions to me." to is of To saythenthata commitment freedom thefoundation liberalism to whileto say that too is to say something vague and abstract be helpful, to of is liberalsare committed conception liberty fundamentally a particular abouta matter which, on withthebest too to soundtoo assured, dogmatic to bedfellows likely disagree. the are All evenideological willin theworld, same, there are positionsin the debate about freedomwhich it is and it may be worthgiving liberalto repudiate, them characteristically some briefattention. witha proper Much ofthatdebatehas been concerned of understanding the relationbetweenfreedomand social order. Some philosophers say betweenfreedom and social order:real thereis a definitional connection to freedom freedom the true for self) just is submission and (sometimes, in thatfreedom Othersmaintain participation theorderof a good society. is is lost or the principle liberty violatedwhenever of any rule of social no how it of orderis enforced, matter well-grounded is in therequirements both of these extreme it social life.Liberalism, seems to me, repudiates positions. In "Two Concepts of Liberty", Isaiah Berlin describedas "positive a of freedom" packageofviewswhichincludedtheidentification the"true self" with the order of one's community, state, or class and the of for of identification freedom thatselfwiththewilling discharge socialor An communal responsibilities." exampleof thismaybe foundin Hegel's is of viewthat"thestatein and byitself theethical whole,theactualization and freedom", that"in duty[bywhichHegel meanslaws and institutions
" Berlin,op. cit.,pp. 131-4.

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seems to rule out the possibility an individual of back from that standing form social orderand subjecting to critical of it If evaluation. a person's to or trueselfis thought be partly wholly constituted the social order, by thenthat_self cannotask the critical question"Is thisthe sortof orderI " Is I is accept? itone that wouldhavechosen? Or, ifthisquestion asked,itis to be regarded thealienated as of bewilderment one who is divorced from his trueself,rather thanas a genuineexerciseof freedom. This viewof freedom,then, is at odds with the liberal insistencethat all social are and arrangements subjectto critical scrutiny individuals, thatmen by and womenrevealand exercisetheirhighest as freeagentswhen powers of underwhichthey theyengagein thissortof scrutiny the arrangements are to live. with thisis a long-standing in Connected uneasiness theliberal tradition about the establishment any disjunction of betweenthe "true"subjectof and the selfas it appearsin the subjective of freedom consciousness the To of individual concerned. use a phrasefrom philosophy mind,there the it is somethingis liketo be me13 theoccurrent of subjective experience my To desires,and intentions. talk about my fears,preferences, thoughts, on freedom, the liberalview, is to talk about the role I play in the of where'I' is understood thesense ofwhatit in determination myactions, is nowliketo be me; it is notto talkaboutthethought decision-making or cleansed of the "false consciousness" of an entity thatcharacterizes my and liberalsare accused of taking present experiences desires.Sometimes the beliefsand preferences individuals givenand hence of ignoring of as of the factthatforms society forms consciousness of and maydetermine the structure content preferences.14But liberalsneed notbe blind and of of to the possibility preferences eitherautonomously along or changing, with changes in social structure and social expectations. Providedthis of that something people as theyare can possibility changeis in principle recognize in themselvesand take into account in their reflective then it can be accommodated well in a liberal deliberations, perfectly accountof freedom. I do not wantto pretend thatthisis an easy position adopt.As we to shall see later,liberalism also bound up in largepartwithrespectfor is
G. W. F. Hegel, ThePhilosophy Right, T. M. Knox (Oxford, tr. of 1952), p. 279 (addition to paragraph of see 258) and p. 107 (paragraph 149). For the definition 'duty', ibid.,p. 106 148). (paragraph 13 Thomas Nagel, 'What is it like to be a 'Bat?' in his collectionMortal Questions 1970) (Cambridge, 14 This is an mostcommonly made against For utilitarianism. a usefuldiscussion, objection see Rawls,op. cit.,pp. 259-63.
12

liberation".12The trouble withthis,froma liberalperspective, thatit is

perceived from a subjectivepoint of view] the individualfinds his

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of and and with rationality, thediscipline self-knowledge clear-sightedness, to the of withthe celebration the humancapacity graspand understand world. But those capacitiesare not alwaysin play when people make of So decisionsabout how to act in society. thatsense of the importance in intoa sometension reason humandecision-makingboundto introduce is for men and aroundrespect decisions madebyindividual theory organized life. womenas theyare in ordinary So farwe have said thatthe liberalrejectsthe viewthatsocial orderis of freedom. But is he committed the opposite to constitutive individual of and extreme thatthe impositions restraints social life are necessarily of in of freedom? Partisans negative violations individual liberty the Berlin 'Yes' and qualify thatby addingthat tradition apt to answerquickly are are such violations oftenjustified respectforothervalues or forthe by But individuals.15 I think matter morecomplicated the is freedom other of in thanthat.The questionhas to be whether liberty in anysense which - is or is thought beimportant attacked undermined to a whenever rule liberty of is of socialconduct enforced. Considertheposition a personboundbya is he entered into:ifthatcontract enforced contract has freely him, against is lost so far as his liberty concerned?Surely a is anything important negativeansweris plausiblein this case. Though he may be forcedor it to of that coercedbythethreat courtaction, is pursuant an arrangement of which not he has chosen,and itwouldbe a poorconception freedom did in of leave room for the possibility individuals bindingthemselves this similar be said aboutsocial rules.If theruleis one way.16 may Something little in thatis important relation to thatthe citizenhas agreedto, surely is enforced liberty lost if it is subsequently againsthim. If we take his agreementseriously,we may see that as somethingmore like the of of consummation his freedom thana violation it.But iftheruleis simply of reference theconsent thosewho are to be boundby to without imposed, in it, then something important this connectionis lost-namely, the for themselves how theywill capacityof human agents to determine withothers.That restrain theirconductin orderto live in community will as capacity havebeen pushedaside in thenameofsocialorder, though it were something no consequence;and thatis an attackon whatwe of of should conceiveas the importance freedom. Now, in each case, the mechanics enforcement be exactly same: coercionis appliedto of the may on an agent who experiences as a constraint decision-making, certain it and or as But though actionsare impelled obstructed a result. actionhas been
Berlin,op. cit.,pp. 124-6. should people be able to Though, of course,the limitsof thiswill be c6ntroversial: see For intoslavery? an interesting exercisetheirfreedom sellingthemselves discussion, by Stateand Utopia(Oxford, RobertNozick,Anarchy, 1974), pp. 280-92.
16 15

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with interfered in bothcases, thevalue of freedom and determined agency in attacked the second case thanin the first. has been moreseriously to of need nottakean anarchist So liberals approach theproblem social of order.They can concede that the enforcement social rules involves threaten and circumstances actions which characteristically in familiar it But freedom threaten seriously. sinceit is possibleforan individual and to to and to choose liveundera social order, agree abide byitsrestraints, to for therefore use his powers as a free agent to commithimself the to mean that of the future, enforcement such an orderdoes not necessarily freedom a value is beingviolated. as III between liberal thoughtand the legacy of the The relationship The Enlightenment was cannotbe stressedtoo strongly. Enlightenment in to confidence the humanability make characterized a burgeoning by to and to sense of theworld, graspits regularities fundamental principles, of its and its future, to manipulate powersforthebenefit mankind. predict before forces and of After millenia ignorance, terror, superstition, cowering faced the prospectof mankind nor control, understand it could neither feel world,a worldin whichit might beingable at last to build a human on made thisan optimism behalf at and securely home.Empiricism safely mind:therewas a sense abroad thatit was possible,in of the individual the to for each individual understand world in this way, and principle, thattherewas no other indeed it was maintained wayin whichthe world mind.17 could be understood exceptby an individual of The drive for individual understanding the world is matchedin at thoughtby an optimism least as strongabout the Enlightenment is In of society. one aspect,this optimism the possibility understanding But it is also thesource and basis of modern history economics. sociology, attitudes liberal attitudes I wantto saydistinctively normative of certain It towards politicaland social justification. is the sourceof an impatience and of a as awe withtradition, mystery, and superstition thebasis of order, of answerat the tribunal reason and to determination make authority and If is to us convince thatit is entitled respect. lifein society practicable desirable, then its principlesmust be amenable to explanationand must be that are necessary and understanding, the rules and restraints to capable of beingjustified the people who are to live underthem.The of social world,even morethanthe natural world,mustbe thought as a
17 form empiricism mentioned herehad much of It is sometimes arguedthattheCartesian see on liberalism: Siedentop,op. cit.,p. 155. moreinfluence Englishthanon continental

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world us- a worldwhoseworkings individual the mindcan graspand for forthe benefit humanpurposes. of perhapsmanipulate deliberately The view thatI wantto identify a foundation liberalthought as of is based on this demand fora justification the social world.18 of Like his in counterparts science, the liberal insists that intelligible empiricist in social and political lifemustbe availablein principle for justifications is forsociety to be understood theindividual notbythe mind, everyone, by or tradition sense of a community. legitimacy the basis of social Its and mustbe made out to each individual, once the mantleof for obligation has been lifted, is goingto wantan answer.If thereis everybody mystery someindividual whoma justification to cannot given, be thenso faras heis concerned social orderhad better replacedby otherarrangements, the be forthe status has made out no claimto his allegiance. quo the has Statedin thisway, demandforjustification obvious affinities with olderidea, present the natural in of the somewhat law tradition medieval of and early modernthought, the social contractand government by consent. Men being, as has been said, by Nature, all free,equal and no independent, one can be put out of thisEstate,and subjected his to the PoliticalPower of another, without own Consent. The himself his NaturalLiberty, of one devests any onlywaywhereby is withother Men andputson thebonds CivilSociety byagreeing of for to joynand uniteinto a Community, theircomfortable, safe and peaceableliving one amongst in a secureEnjoyment another, of their and Properties, a greater Security against thatare not any
of it.19

here have a positive The ideas expressed and a negative side. Negatively, is to the theyinvolve denialthatbeinggoverned natural humanpersons: on is and people invent takeupon beinggoverned, thecontrary, something for themselves, reasons,in an act of freechoice.We mayfindit hard to frameworks. on But, imagineanyonechoosingto live outsideall political or aboutstanding back from thisview,thereis nothing perverse unnatural it critical evaluation. the social orderand putting to the testof individual of these ideas suggestthatthe constitution a good societyis Positively, as which willhavebeen chosenbythe perhapsbestrepresented something are underit,something whosemainfeatures as intelligible to people living
18 The classic statement the relationship of betweenEnlightenment liberalideals is and ImmanuelKant, "An Answerto the Question'What is Enlightenment?"' H. Reiss (ed.) in Kant'sPolitical 1970), pp. 54-60. Writings (Cambridge, edited by P. Laslett (New York, 1965), 19JohnLocke, Two Treatises Government, of pp. 374-5 (II, section95).

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them as the charterof a club of which they are founding members, designed by them in order to serve the purposes that broughtthem in together the first place. The idea of individual two choice here performs relatedfunctions: it serveas a basis forpolitical or it mayserveas a basis for may legitimacy whenI givemyconsent (or political obligation it maydo both).Sometimes, I to an arrangement, make it permissible other for people to do whatit would otherwise impermissible them to do; and sometimes be for my also for agreement makesitimpermissible meto do whatitwouldotherwise be permissible me to do. (For example, first notthesecondidea for the but is involved whenI consentto a surgical operation.) In traditional bothaspectsare involved. theories the social contract, of an to be governed(under certainarrangements) individual By agreeing makes it permissiblefor others, usually the instituted agencies of to exercise overhimin waysthatmight otherwise not power government, for him from be permissible; example,theymay now physically prevent he the taking law intohis own handswhenhe thinks has been wronged, it whereaspreviously mayhave been wrongforthemto do this.At the on to same time, also takesan obligation himself: use thesame example, he to at whereasbeforehe was morally liberty punish someone who had to fromdoingso and to him,now he has an obligation refrain wronged or submit matter the community the courtsinstead. the to When people have discussed the liberal idea of the social contract, I on attention oftenfocusedexclusively the issue of obligation. think has with accountsof thisis a pity.There are all sortsof difficulties contract contract whichdo not affect accountsof legitimacy to politicalobligation like anything the same extent. of idea relateto theapplication theunderlying Some of thesedifficulties In moraleffect. thecase ofpolitical ofconsent an actionwith as obligation, contract restson the view thatwe oughtto obey the law, accept theory without and the decisions resistance, suffer sacrifices political unpalatable becausewe havemade a promise. thatour society maydemandofus simply I find thatan improbable view.We all think is no promise-breakingwrong, and that doubt;but is it so conclusively momentously wrong people should be prepared put up withhardship, mortal and even to oppression, danger, death(in the story Socrates)just because they of to promised obey?Very few of us thinkthis even about the explicit promisesthatare givenin we are personallife,and so it is no wonder balkwhensuch requirements said to be based on some of thethings havetakento political philosophers be sufficient indications consent. of None of thisis helpedbythelack ofphilosophical on agreement exactly we The least substantial accountis this: why oughtto keep our promises.

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the to thatsaying wordsthemselves 'I promise obey'or whatever justis and the assumption an obligation, thatis all thereis to it. Hobbes, for of weakground seemson very whenhe saysofa political agent"that example, for he oughtto perform his promisesake" or because goingback on his word and disobeyingwould involve him in some kind of verbal But contradiction.20 his account becomesmoreconvincing whenhe tellsus reasonsforkeepinga contract the reasonsone had are thatthe strongest it this formaking in thefirst place. Certainly is whathe saysaboutpolitical in extremis: obligation The Obligation man maysometimes a have,upon the Command of the Soveraignto execute any dangerous,or dishonourable not on the Words of our Submission; but on Office, dependeth the Intention; whichis to be understood the End thereof.21 by But then in this sort of account the act of consentitselfis morally At redundant. mostit servesas an indication thatthe reasonsnow being forobedienceare reasonsthatthe agenthas at least once found given our blindsus in a political context compelling.22 Maybe,however, consent thatothersplace on us. Morallythisis the most because of the reliance But attractive out,theresulting theory. thenas MichaelWalzerhas pointed be just one amonga number competing of that may obligation obligations we have to otherpeople.23 in do to These difficulties not arise so acutely relation the legitimating of makeitpermissible someone for function consent. Whydoes myconsent to do something me whichwould otherwise impermissible? to be The in reasonlies first, ourneed forcontrol overwhathappensto us, as partof in our general interest controlling courseof our lives,and secondly, the in the factthatas socialbeingswe can help,assistand enjoyone another in individuals powerofconsensual the various legitimation ways.Giving helps to reconcilethesetwoimportant need forcontrol aspects our individual of and the desirability our interaction withothers.In a politicalcontext, our or on thesereflect liberty autonomy, the one hand,and the potential on the social cooperation, the other. gainsfrom Makingconsent sourceof a political provides basis on whichthese gains can be realized legitimacy without seriousthreat freedom. to any
20 Thomas Hobbes, De Give(EnglishVersion)editedby H. Warrender (Oxford,1983), and 2, p. 170 (Ch. XIV, section annotation); Thomas Hobbes,Leviathan 1904), (Cambridge, 88 p. 21 (Ch. XIV). Ibid., pp. 153-4 (Ch. XXI). 22 For a useful see Theories discussion, RichardTuck, NaturalRights 1979), (Cambridge, pp. 127 ff. 23Michael Walzer, "The Obligationto Disobey" in his collctionObligations: Essayson War Disobedience, and Citizenship Mass., 1970). (Cambridge,

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of Consider now the traditional objectionthatas a matter factmost societies havenot been setup on a contractual basis.Most wereestablished Even in thefewcases forceor internal dissension.24 as a result external of thepractice never has been wherestateshavebeen consensually instituted, of establishedof givingeach new arrival,as it were, an opportunity consentto the society into whichhe has been or witholding expressing us to and leaveus little born.The lawstreat as boundwilly-nilly obeythem if realistic alternative we findthemforsome reasonrepugnant. of for Once again,theseobjections pose difficulties the theory political Some liberals have resortedto the idea of tacitconsent. obligation. in actions likeenjoying to property everyday According Locke,forexample, on can for a jurisdiction eventravelling thehighway countas consent the or But subjection.25 the crucialquestionto ask of such purposesof political of accountsis always:'What would count as the witholding consent?'If thenit is clear thatthe conceptis not really thereis no plausibleanswer, is for obligation.'Emigration' the pulling its weightin the argument but in the modernworld that is simplynot a real traditional reply; and are for possibility mostpeople. For mostof us, citizenship obligation liberals prepared are fewmodern not determined birth choice,and very by in evenin a perfectly wouldbe muchdifferent thisregard to saythatthings just society. The otherfamiliar a tactic to movefrom requirement actualto one is of consentis a consent.Later I shall argue thathypothetical of hypothetical But it tradition. to see that is ofno helpat idea in theliberal important very 'You we all to the theory obligation, need onlyconsiderthe inference of are obliged.' We may,as Robert wouldhave consented,therefore you "learnmuchfrom Nozicksuggests, seeinghowthestatecould havearisen, aboutour even if it didn'tarisethatway",but we shallnotlearnanything obligations.26 The idea that consentmightbe the basis of politicallegitimacy is, much easier to rescue fromthe traditional to however, objections social An examplewill illustrate. it contract Normally is wrongfor a theory. his But sometimes to operateon a person'sbodywithout consent. surgeon and incapableof consenting after accidents to people are leftunconscious that lives.In thesecircumstances, to procedures maybe necessary savetheir
to For the classicobjection contract theory alongtheselines,see David Hume, "Of the and in Contract" hisEssays -Moral, Political Literary 1985),p. 474. For (Indianapolis, Original trans. see the alternatives, F. Nietzsche,TheGenealogy Moralsin Basic Writings Nietzsche, of of W. Kaufman 17), of (New York,1968),p. 522 (II, paragraph and F. Engels,TheOrigin Private Works Selected and theStatein Marx and Engels: the (London, 1970), p. 576 Property, Family (Ch. IX). 25 119). Locke, op. cit.,p. 392 (II, paragraph 26 Nozick,op. cit.,p. 9; cf. Dworkin, cit.,pp. 150-2. op.
24

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we believethesurgeon the shouldask: "Would patient givehis consent he if to werein a position do so?" If theanswer affirmative, operation is the may even as be morally neverrecovers legitimate, though it happensthepatient and is unable to ratify agreement the givenon his behalf.Now perhaps wherethissortofhypothetical thereare instances consent notsufficient. is For example,we may not use the body of an unconscious person as a or his facein an advertisement sleeping for evenifthere punching bag pills is reasonto believethathe wouldhave agreedto act as a sparring partner or as a model if he were conscious. So there are limitsto how far consentcan conferlegitimacy whatwould otherwise on be hypothetical even in these cases we maythink interferences. that However, wrongful of is this sort of wrongness a matter degree,and thatinterfering with someonewithout consent, in a wayin whichhe wouldhaveagreed his but to be treated he been asked,is lesswrong thaninterfering himin a had with in which,even hypothetically, would never have agreed to be he way treated.If so, hypothetical consent at least makesa difference the to even thoughit may not alwaysin itselfbe of interference, wrongness thatnothing (It legitimate. is worth enoughto makethatinterference noting in the case of obligation. hypothetical A similar promise itself by happens to a person'smoral does not add a scintilla evenprima of facieobligation position.) and are treated twosides of as Though legitimacy obligation sometimes the same coin, theseconsiderations thattheymaycome apartin suggest social contract The classic case is posed by Hobbes: a groupof theory. are resistedtheirsovereign rightfully to people who have wrongfully put have no obligation submit execution to deathby the sovereign they but to or to refrain from to instance foundin a is conspiracy escape.27Another It certain said thatthosewho breakthe viewof civildisobedience. is often law in order to conscientiously protestsome injusticehave no rightto if them.Though thismaymean that complain the law is enforced against themselves the authorities, may also to it theyhave a dutyto surrender of entailthe mean thatthe rightness theirdisobedience does not in itself Unless we wantto insistthatit is never of them.28 wrongness punishing for to unlessthey violating are right the stateto forceanyone do anything an obligation they that haveto do it (and a moment's revealsthe reflection that regime be morally a then of accept position), wemust may inadequacy that even thoughdisobedienceto its laws is not alwaysmorally legitimate wrong. will Anyway, political legitimacy be the focusof the restof thisessay.I
27Hobbes, op. cit.,pp. 154-5 (Ch. XXI). 28Compare the discussionin Rawls,op. cit.,pp. 363-91 withthatin Dworkin, cit., op. pp. 192-3.

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want to presentliberalism at bottom,a theoryabout what makes as, and the of politicalaction and in particular enforcement maintenance a order morally The thesisthatI wantto say social and political legitimate. liberalis this: a social and politicalorderis illegitimate is fundamentally of unlessit is rootedin theconsent all thosewho haveto liveunderit; the of of consentor agreement thesepeople is a condition its beingmorally to enforcethat order againstthem. (I state thathere as a permissible that condition, leavingopen the possibility liberalsmaywantto necessary to besides lack of consent.) allow otherthings vitiate politicallegitimacy in Understood thisway,the liberalposition providesa basis forarguing or inasmuch one can showthatit as some arrangement institution against has not secured,or perhapscould not secure,the consentof the people. And it providesa basis for arguingin favourof an arrangement or if institution one can showthatno social orderwhichlackedthisfeature securepopularconsent. could possibly IV in can different The thesisI have outlined be understood slightly ways, is One of the most important tradition. for liberalism not a monolithic and accountsof political differencesbetweenvoluntaristic rationalistic - corresponds thedistinction to between actualand hypothetical legitimacy consent. If emphasisis placed on the role of will in the individual choice of thenhypothetical will not be viewedas an adequate consent government, of A for substitute theactualconsent thecitizen. givensocial orderwillbe as unfree as a violation of the free capacities of its regarded act citizens unlessand untilthey agreeto itslawsin an explicit of choice and adoption. thissortofvoluntarist On the that account, requirement the for Rousseau'stheory laws be actually agreedto is indispensable freedom. in TheSocial Contracthis insistence thegeneral that willmustbe expressed basis and his violent of rejection representation bythepeople on a regular in themaking thelaws- is aboutas close as we getto thisvoluntarism of in the liberaltradition.29 But eventhissortof approach mayconcedethatthereis morethanone to waya social ordermaybe oriented thenormof actualconsent. Though a social order not legitimated actual consent may be unfree,that by that unfreedom be mitigated our recognition it is at leastpossible can to by
29 in of Rousseau, TheSocial Contract G. D. H. Cole's translation TheSocial Jean-Jacques Contract Discourses and (London, 1968), especially 73-80 (III, Chs. XI-XV). For a general pp. discussion contractualist of see voluntarism, P. Riley,WillandPolitical Legitimacy (Cambridge, Mass., 1982).

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it consent.Such an ordercan be described in imagine people giving their termsof hypothetical and thoughit is unfreefrom voluntarist a consent, of not as pointof view,is surely as bad in terms unfreedom one to which So consentcannotevenbe imagined. though liberalrequirement the may and the be interpereted of strictly radically undermining legitimacy many if not all existing societies it need not be leftwithnothing say or no to If discriminations makebetween to societies thatfallintothiscategory. the the lack of actualconsentis to be remedied, first mustbe reform of step the societyso thatconsentbecomes an imaginable option.Hypothetical the contractarianism provides basis forthatstep to be taken. thereare a numberof liberalviewswhichcome close to By contrast, the actualwillaspectof consentaltogether. The clearest case repudiating is of a non-voluntarist of the social contract thatof Kant. In his theory workon political Kant insiststhatsince "the will of another philosophy, for cannotdecide anything someone without the law injustice", person But though callsthat mustbe based on "thewilloftheentire he people".30 he willthe basis of "the original contract", goes on to say: thiscontract... based on a But we need byno meansassumethat in of individuals a nation form coalition thewillsof all private to a will for the purposes of rightful common,public legislation, for exists a fact, it cannot as possiblebe so.... It is in fact actually an idea of reason, which nonethelesshas undoubted merely for to his reality; it can obligeevery legislator frame laws practical in such a waythattheycould have been producedby the united will of a whole nation.... This is the testof the rightfulness of law. For ifthelaw is such thata wholepeople could every public if notpossibly class agreeto it (forexample, it statedthata certain must be privileged a hereditary as of subjects class),it is ruling butifit is at leastpossible a people could agreeto it,it that unjust; is our dutyto considerthe law as just, even if the people is at presentin such a positionor attitudeof mind that it would refuseits consentif it were consulted.31 probably Kantproposes a relaxed So thestandard is one. Not onlycan a socialorder but be made legitimate without actualconsent, eventhebarest of possibility consentis enoughto justify law. the In modern the has philosophy, Kantianapproach been takenup political to of is byJohnRawls.According Rawls,thebasic structure society to be to evaluated as according principles presented thosethatwouldbe chosen
30Immanuel Kant,"On the CommonSaying'This maybe True in Theorybutit does not Applyin Practice"'in Reiss, op. cit.,p. 77. 1 Ibid.,p. 79.

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in comingtogether a positionof initial by free and rationalindividuals to the of association.32 again,theidea is not But equality settle terms their one: a voluntaristic No society whichmen can, of course,be a schemeof cooperation entervoluntarily a literal in sense.... Yet a society the satisfying of comes as close as a society to can principles justiceas fairness whichfree scheme,forit meetsthe principles being a voluntary and equal personswould assentto undercircumstances are that In are fair. thissense itsmembers autonomous theobligations and theyrecognize self-imposed.33 is the who The testof a justsociety, then, notwhether individuals livein it its but whether termscan be represented the have agreed to its terms, as of an agreement betweenthem. object In all of this,it is important remember of to thattheories actual and of consentare not independent one another.A theory of hypothetical limits a theory actualconsent: for of consent defines obviously hypothetical to that could beconsented is a wayofshowing it not that showing something has notbeen consented If reasonscan be givenin hypothetical to. contract would not the subject of an theory why certainsorts of arrangements to on be sufficient cast doubt,formoralpurposes, the agreement they may of any putative actual consentto such arrangements. every Not reality counts thepurposes legitimacy for of 'I utterance thephonemes consent' of mustbe minimally The act of agreement alone obligation). (let intelligible consentis to count as the sortof thingthatcan have the moraleffects be to have; and thatintelligibility cannotwholly divorced from supposed of some consideration thesubstance whatis allegedto havebeen agreed of this to.34In earlymoderncontract theory, approachled to whatRichard of For Tuck has describedas a radical strategy interpretative charity. example: ... no man can be supposedso void of commonsense (unlessan absoluteFool, and thenhe is notcapable of making Bargain) any so to yieldhimself absolutely to anothers up disposal.... So thatI conceivethateven a Slave... in the stateof Nature,wherehe
Rawls,op. cit.,p. 11. 33Ibid.,p. 13. Rawls also insists thatthe decisionof theparties the original in "is position nota so-called"radicalchoice":that a choicenotbased on reasons": is, JohnRawls,"Kantian in Constructivism Moral Theory", 77 Journal Philosophy (1980), p. 568. It is said to be of closerto theidea ofrational choicein welfare economics: Rawls,Theory ustice, cit., see of op. p. 119. 34See the discussionin Michael Sandel, Liberalism theLimitsofJustice and (Cambridge, 1983).
32

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hathno civilpowerto whomto appeal for hathas much Justice, to as a Son or Child of the Family, defendhis life,or what right belongs to him, against the unjust violence or Rage of his Master.35 was used to undermine the suggestion That strategy that slaveryand of absolutism be might based on the freealienation liberty. contract Whilethisuse ofhypothetical drawson theidea thatsomething could be agreedto,theidea thatsomething not should be agreedto has not Much of Locke's theory thischaracter. also been deployed. has Some of from creator we maynot our and our natural are rights held byus on trust (thatis, we are not in a moralposition bargainthemaway.An actual to) case of someone "giving"his sovereignthe rightto kill him at will, to thansomeonepurporting sell the has moraleffect therefore, no greater a of More recently, Rawlshas deployed procedural idea property another.36 In he to similar effect. his argument againstutilitarianism, says: I shall relyupon the factthatforan agreement be valid,the to circummust be able to honor it under all foreseeable parties stances.There mustbe a rational assurancethatone can carry we through.... [W]henwe enteran agreement, mustbe able to honorit even shouldthe worst proveto be the case. possibilities Otherwise have not acted in good faith.37 we Thus, forexample, people who believethereis a chance of utilitarianism and who believethatas slavesin a utilitarian regime they justifying slavery and disobedience, mustnot sign up for would be inclinedto resistance of utilitarian precludedfrom entering principles justice.They are morally thatmay turnout to have consequencestheycannot into an agreement thereis no way that utilitarian goes through, accept. If this argument as can be represented an object of agreementin Rawls's principles position". "original leaves utilitarianism But it is worthnotingthatthis sort of criticism in an ambiguousrelationto the liberal tradition. There is standing in it a sense in whichit is a liberaltheory: is individualist its obviously of liberalin itsacceptance menand womenas they are, hedonism, actually of in egalitarian its claimthatthepleasureand suffering thebeggarcount in of foras muchas thoseof a king,and modern its imposition a rational
35The passage is from non Patriarcha Monarcha (1681) and is quoted in JamesTyrrell, in Tuck, op. cit.,p. 155. Locke uses similar arguments places: see, e.g.,Locke,op. cit.,p. 406 (II, paragraph 138). 36 Ibid., pp. 324-5, 402-3, and 412-3 (II, paragraphs 22-3, 135 and 149). 37 Rawls,op. cit.,pp. 175-6. 38 in Cf. H. L. A. Hart,Essays Jurisprudence Philosophy and (Oxford,1983), p. 200.

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standardas a criterion politicalevaluation.In the of and intelligible and earlynineteenth Benthamand the utilitarians centuries, eighteenth were at the forefront the attempt demystify of to to society, throwits to thelight individual of and to set outin an explicit reason, workings open and formulaicway intelligibleprinciples of political morality.But utilitarians were alwayswaryof the idea of social contract, and modern criticisms havehighlighted leastone reasonforthat.Because of theway at in whichutilitarians harmsand benefits, is plausible it individual aggregate to arguethatthe outcomesof theirreasoning be made acceptablein can of the end onlyto thosewho gainfrom operation the felicific the calculus; if thereare any net losers and if theirloss is drasticthen neither the northeprinciples generate that themcan be made utilitarian computations of to to Sensitivity thisprospect beingrelegated the universally acceptable. of the liberal tradition, made manyutilitarians has for scurry margins answers objections these:perhapsdrastic to like losses wouldneveroccur, be or perhapsthe riskof incurring themwould nevertheless a good bet what each personstandsto gain, or perhapssome formof considering "two-level"or "indirect"utilitarianism be establishedwhich does can intuitions thesematters.39 on These are arguments to our liberal we justice cannotgo intohere. When we movefrom whatpeople actually what acceptto asking asking we our emphasisaway wouldaccept undercertainconditions, shift they have forexercising from will and focuson the reasons thatpeople might will thananother. certain their in one wayrather Doing so involves dangers fortheliberal.Real people do notalways on thereasonswe think act they of have foracting:the reasonableness the actorsin our hypothesis might of maynot matchthe reality men and womenin actuallife. This bears acutely theissue oftheliberal on to and response theethical religiouspluralismof the modernworld. Some liberals celebratethe of ideals and life-styles and practised held commitments, diversity beliefs, in our community. Others accept simplyas a matterof fact that that is to no how rationally diversity irreducible a single orthodoxy, matter thatorthodoxy be.40And othersare convinced Mill's by compelling may thatany attempt homogenize ethicalor religious of to the life arguments our society wouldbe ethically socially and disastrous.41 Whichever these of viewsis taken,a liberalsociety envisaged one in whichpeople will is as and pursuea variety opposing of and incommensurable practice life-styles. But howthenis itpossibleforthesesamepeopleto livepeaceably together
39See, e.g., R. M. Hare,Moral Thinking (Oxford, 1982), and thedebatein R. G. Frey(ed.) and (Oxford, 1984). Utility Rights 40 See Rawls,op. cit.,p. 127. 41 j. S. Mill, On Liberty Chs. II-III. 1955), especially (Indianapolis,

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of The has and acceptthe same forms social justification? liberalstrategy been to searchfor interests beliefs and sharedin common which underlying of arrangements: maybe appealed to in the justification our institutional certaindesiredobjectsthatare means to the the basic needs of nature, of pursuit anyideal, commongeneralbeliefsabout how theworldworks, similar modes of argument reason,and so on. But in addition that and to liberals mustalso assumethatall ethical commitment a common has form: like a thatthereis something pursuing conception thegoodlifethatall of can people, even thosewiththe mostdiversecommitments, be said to be of form was crucialin engagedin.42The recognition such an underlying the emergence religious of toleration: those of different faiths had to be one another worshipping as a god,each in his own way, able to recognize in Modem liberalism with and to identify one another thatregard. attempts to expressa similar idea forall aspectsof life-style. The hunchis that, can ideals,they at leastabstract although peopledo notshareone another's a from theirexperience sense of whatit is liketobe committedan idealof to thisin others thegoodlife;theycan recognize and theycan focuson it as to justification something whichpolitical oughtto be addressed.43 These seem to be the minimal of which assumptions 'reasonableness' the liberalhas to makeiftheproject social justification to get offthe of is at willchallenge universality thisconception the of ground all.44But many of 'reason'. They will say thatpeople in factexhibit different basic wants fundamental beliefsabout the world,and utterly and needs, different More seriously, is arguablethatmany it disparatemodes of reasoning. and communalcommitments not have the shape thatthe do individual liberalenvisages.Some people's commitments so overwhelming are that to swampthebasic humanconcerns, us reasonto doubt appear giving they of above. Other the universal validity the idea of humannaturesketched are bound up withtheirsense of people's commitments so inextricably from willbe that to them:they themselves theyfindit impossible abstract thethought their form thoseof that idealssharea common with by repelled thatpoliticaljustification people theydespise,and theywill be outraged in Even moreworryingly, may some shouldrequirethemto think that way. so that findthemselves cannotbe pursued withcommitments fervent they to themon others. the Faced with these except through endeavour impose the possibilities, liberalhas a hard choice. Eitherhe concedes thathis
p. 191. 43In thisparagraph, have drawnheavily Rawls's workand particularly I on whathe calls "the thintheory humangood": op. cit.,pp. 90-5, 126-50, and 395-452. of 44This notion 'reasonableness' discussedin Rawls,"KantianConstructivism", cit., of is op. pp. 528 ff.
42 For the idea of 'a conception the good life', see Dworkin,"Liberalism", cit., of op.

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of will conception political judgement be appealing onlyto thosewho hold in Or 'liberal'spirit. he mustlook fora form their commitments a certain of socialorderin whichnotonlythosewithdifferent ideals,butthosewith of different views about the legitimacy imposingtheir ideals, can be for accommodated. Since theprospects a social orderof thiskindare not more robustresponse seems the only one the former verypromising, we But available.45 ifthisline is taken, mustabandonanyclaimaboutthe The liberal willhaveto concedethathe has ofliberal politics.46 'neutrality' undera a greatmany moreenemies(real enemies peoplewhowillsuffer to have. This, then,is thanhe has usually liberaldispensation) pretended on actualconsent with emphasis willto its thecostofthemovefrom theory on withits emphasis liberalreason. consenttheory hypothetical V I have concentrated discussionon the idea of social contract, not my because all liberalstakethatidea seriously, because it expresses a but in clearand provocative form viewI believemostliberals share:thatthe a do socialordermustbe one that be justified thepeoplewhohaveto live can to underit. We have seen thatthe Enlightenment impulseon whichthisis based is the demand of the individual mind forthe intelligibility the of social world.Societyshouldbe a transparent order,in the sense thatits and principles should be well-known and availableforpublic workings apprehensionand scrutiny. People should know and understandthe reasonsforthebasic distribution wealth, of and power,authority freedom. and should not Societyshould not be shroudedin mystery, its workings have to depend on mythology, or mystification, a "noble lie".47As Rawls of shouldbe "a publicsystem rules": of putsit,thebasic structure society Thus the generalawareness theiruniversal of acceptanceshould have desirableeffects support stability social cooperaand the of that work wellenough understood out if tion.... Conceptions might and followed a fewor evenbyall, so longas thisfactwerenot by are condition.48 known, excludedby the publicity widely
45I do notthink Rawlstakesseriously posed here: enoughtheneed to addresstheproblem in sketched hereis necessary, cf.his remarks Theory ustice, cit.,pp. 215-6. The answer op. of I think, a reply objections out in Sandel, op. cit.,Ch. IV. for to set 46 For theliberal claimto "neutrality", Dworkin, cit.,p. 191, and Bruce Ackerman, see op. in SocialJustice theLiberalState(New Haven, 1980), pp. 10-7. 47Cf. Plato, The Republic, III (414b); Locke's remarkson the need to dispel Bk. about politics are particularly apt here: Locke op. cit., pp. 387-8 (II, mystification 111-2) paragraphs 48 Rawls,op. cit.,pp. 55-6, 133 and 582. For an argument in thatpublicity thissense is a moral and not a logical condition,see Samuel Scheffler, substantive The Rejection of (Oxford,1982), pp. 43-51. Consequentialism

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Is thereanytension betweenthisrequirement transparency the of and characteristic liberal commitment privacy certainareas of to in equally social life? Many liberals believe that it is important establisha to distinction between the public and the privateaspects of a person's life- between thoseactivities whichhe is accountable society for to (those and whichare to be open to evaluation criticism others) and thosethat by are not. The problemis thatprivacy here is not usuallythe privacy of the but rather privacy the family of and (in classicalbut not in solitude, modernliberalism) privacy the workplace. the of But these are areas in socialunderstanding, on anyrealistic issuesofpowerand which, important hence legitimacy arise. That leads to a genuinedilemma.Some liberals of maybe happywiththe panopticism a Bentham: A whole kingdom,the whole globe itself,will become a in man exercises himself beforethe eyes gymnasium, whichevery man.Every turn limbor feature, of in of every other gesture, every those whose motions have a visible impact on the general will down.49 happiness, be noticedand marked But others the willviewthiswithalarm.Freedomfrom publicgaze, they for of will argue,is an indispensable condition the nurture moralagency: in need space and intimacy orderto developtheir Others people liberty.50 that raise again the fearsabout social homogeneity we have already may Bentham's a mentioned. is easyto imagine It gymnasium becoming place in to whicheveryone casts sidelongglancesat his neighbour ensurethatall motions.51 to the extent But thatthese are goingthrough similar exactly lines of thought takenseriously, liberalsleave themselves are open to the about the legitimation all of charge of being less than whole-hearted structures powerin modernsociety. of of Connectedwiththis is an issue about the transparency economic whoseworkings demystified are and processes.The demandfora society mindis one that of characterises scrutiny theindividual open to therational certainformsof socialism as well as the liberal tradition. Marx, for in to lookedforward a society whichall aspectsof economiclife example, in humancontrol, opposed to a situation as would be subjectto explicit whichpeople see themselves the mercyof market at forceswhichthey or As cannotunderstand control.52 StevenLukes puts it:
and 49Jeremy cited Bentham, Deontology, in SheldonWolin,Politics Vision (London, 1961), in and Punish,trans. p. 348. Cf. Michel Foucault's discussionof "panopticism" Discipline A. Sheridan(New York,1979), PartIII, Ch. III. 50Cf. Hannah Arendt, HumanCondition The (Chicago, 1958), p. 71. 51The classic expression these apprehensions Alexis de Tocqueville,Democracy of is in trans.G. Lawrence(New York,1969), Vol. II, and also Mill, op. cit.,Ch. III. America, 52 Karl Vol. III (Moscow, 1962), p. 800. Marx, Capital,

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... the ideal societyto whichMarx expectantly looked forward of would be one in which,underconditions abundance,human in form of beingscan achieveself-realization a new,transparent in social unity, which nature,both physicaland social, comes undertheircontrol.53 the What then distinguishes Marxistfromthe liberal in this respect? is Marxistsbelieve that transparency simplyunavailablein relationto forms "liberal"society. one thing, of For are present people as they are so of burdenedby the mystificationscapitalist as ideology to be incapableof the they apprehending true basis of social order.But more importantly remainscommitted some formof insistthatas long as liberalsociety to can market order,the demandfortransparency neverbe satisfied. and The pointis an interesting intriguing Liberalsare attracted one. to we markets all sortsof reasons.Some of themare pragmatic: fearthe for too politicalconsequencesof vesting muchpowerin the hands of social Othersare based on considerations right: of onlyin a market planners.54 their entitlements the full.55 the most to But can people exercise property remainsthatof economicefficiency: Adam Smith's persuasiveargument in each claim that in pursuinghis own self-interest a marketcontext, hand to promote end thatwas no part an is individual "led by an invisible of The "invisibility" the promotion social benefit of of his intention". is that liberaleconomists: Smithputs it,it is as something does not trouble thatthe resultant social good was no part of none the worse forsociety But intention.56 thatis an idea that Marxists find anyone's deeply repellent. of What theysee as the reality social and economiclife - people profor ducing cooperatively one another'sbenefit- is made invisibleby a mask or appearanceof self-interest competition. and The workings of as theyactually are hiddenbehindthe curtainof capitalist are, society, and view economics, we are askedto acceptan imaginary ofthoseworkings to because any attempt bringthemconsciously underour control would lead to worse consequences than if we remained in our state of Marxists Of the are mystification. course,many challenge viewthatmarkets and somealso challenge equity thedistributions result. the of that efficient, But theirdeepestworry concerns opacity thisform social order. the of of be One liberalresponsehere might to say thereare different conceptions involved. of intelligibility When we talkof an invisible hand,it is not that
53Steven and Lukes,Marxism Morality (Oxford, 1985), p. 9. 54See MiltonFriedman, and Capitalism Freedom (Chicago,1982), Chs. I-II; see also, from a slightly different Dworkin, cit.,pp. 194-5. perspective, op. 55See Nozick,op. cit.,Ch. VII, Pt. I. 56 Adam Smith,An Inquiryinto the Natureand Causes of the Wealthof Nations,ed. R. Campbelland A. Skinner(Oxford,1976), Vol. I, p. 456 (Bk. IV, Ch. II).

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efficient outcomes. do: itis We we do notunderstand markets how generate of just thatour understanding themprecludestheirreplacement more by I The Marxist, believe,is working witha of directforms social control. of a or moremanipulative technocratic conception understanding:process unless thereis a sense in which has not been made humanly intelligible it as it were,takeit over,not onlyrepresenting in thought can, humanity in form deliberate of its workings the concrete but reproducing agency.57 the But bothconceptions rootedin whatI called earlier Enlightenment are valueof socialtransparency the thata common is And I think fact impulse. liberals also believethat the herehelpsto explain why many beingdeployed and is of "anarchy" the market an insultto humanintelligence whythey of of even thoughthey feel the attractions some form plannedeconomy to like stop shortof anything a commitment communism. VII thatwe mustnot expectto finda clear set of I said at the beginning of all from forms all to sufficient distinguish forms liberalism propositions But of of socialism and conservatism. I hope thebroadoutline a distinction is clear. Liberals demand that the social order should in principlebe of at itself thetribunal each person'sunderstanding. capable of explaining that of to are Conservatives likely repudiate as thearrogance individualism: to We are afraid putmento liveand tradeeach on his ownprivate stockof reason;because we suspectthatthe stockin each man is of to woulddo better avail themselves small,and thatindividuals the generalbank and capitalof nationsand of ages.58 on thatthesocialorderdependsforitsefficacy the Theywillcelebrate fact of a degree of mystery, illusionand sentiment all "the decent drapery life"whichtheliberal justification.59 pullsaside in thenameof rational By to are as contrast, we haveseen, socialists moresympathetic therationalist is will on whichliberalism based. Of course,they and humanist impulses is and say,a good society one thatis penetrable manipulable thereason by But theyshare none of the liberals' of freeindividuals actingin concert. in of societies thisway. aboutthepossibility legitimating existing optimism and and The opacity capitalist of effects economy thealienating corrupting free must ofexploitation meanthat hope ofa genuinely and open society all
57 There is an excellent between in discussion S. Moore,Marx on theChoice Socialism and Communism Mass., 1980). (Cambridge, in on editedby 58 Edmund Burke,Reflections theRevolutiornFrancein his Selected Works, E. . Payne(Oxford, 1883), p. 102. Ibid., p. 90.

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has until be postponed indefinitely class conflict had itsday.Liberalsalone and precariously- the to remain committed ambiguously, uncertainly and possibility freedomin the present,that is, individual of prospect for freedom people like us in the social worldwithwhichwe are familiar. of nor Neitherburdenedby a mystifying heritage tradition boughtoffby thatfreedom come forall at itshistorically will thepromise time, appointed confronts socialordernow, his for theliberalindividual demanding respect his of his autonomy, reasonand his agency. the existing capacities UniversityEdinburgh of