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Commentators in popular media and professional publications alike have decried the extent to which civility, civic virtue, tolerance, and socio-cultural unity have declined in modern liberal societies. In this volume, contributors from philosophy and political science discuss this dilemma while exploring the nature of civil society, the conflict between individual liberty and the common good, and the role of law and government policy in weaving the threads of the social fabric.
Here are provocative insights from such distinguished voices as Joan McGregor, Patricia Smith, and Wade Robison, integrating many of the key issues in contemporary political and legal philosophy while representing viewpoints ranging from Rawlsian liberalism to communitarianism, libertarianism to republicanism. All of the contributors share a dedication to fundamental liberal values and advocate respect for others, but they pointedly disagree on the practical implications of such beliefs for political and legal policy.
While not unconcerned with private morality, these essays primarily address public issues—largely in an American context—including economic, legal, and political policies. They focus on the constituent elements of civility and civic virtue, problems surrounding civil rights and the promotion of tolerance, appropriate social and legal responses to increasing social fragmentation, and applied issues such as hate crimes, speech codes, and "bad Samaritan" laws.
Civility and Its Discontents is a lively collection in which readers will find stimulating debate over the requirements of good citizenship, the demarcation between public and private, and the accurate characterization of liberal democratic ideals and realities. It transcends current mass appeals to patriotism and civic responsibility by asking what it is to live in a truly civil society, forming a timely and accessible collection for students—and provocative reading for all interested in our collective future.
Part I. Civic Virtue
1. Ideals of Public Discourse, Mortimer Sellers
2. Civility, Civic Virtue, and Citizenship, Joan McGregor
3. Civic Education in the Liberal State, Emily R. Gill
4. Intolerance and Exploitation: Civic Vice, Legal Norms, and Cooperative Individualism, Patricia Smith
Part II. Toleration
5. Civility and Stability, Wade Robison
6. Trumping Civilly: Technique in Reference to Secession, Christopher Gray
7. Liberal Neutrality, Public Reason, and the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, Eric A. Anderson
8. Regulating Racist Speech on Campus, Thomas Peard
9. First Amendment Morality versus Civility Morality, Norman Fischer
10. Rudeness, Rasp, and Repudiation, Jonathan Schonsheck
Part III. Cultural Fragmentation
11. Civic Virtue and the Legal Duty to Aid, Heidi Malm
12. The Mind of a Bad Samaritan, Joseph Ellin
13. Hate Crime and Social Fragmentation, Christine Sistare
14. Hate Crimes Laws: Progressive Politics or Balkanization?, David A. Reidy
15. Contemporary Germany Faces Multicultural Society, Lester Mazor