Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the Stateby Anna Stilz
Many political theorists today deny that citizenship can be defended on liberal grounds alone. Cosmopolitans claim that loyalty to a particular state is incompatible with universal liberal principles, which hold that we have equal duties of justice to persons everywhere, while nationalist theorists justify civic obligations only by reaching beyond liberal… See more details below
Many political theorists today deny that citizenship can be defended on liberal grounds alone. Cosmopolitans claim that loyalty to a particular state is incompatible with universal liberal principles, which hold that we have equal duties of justice to persons everywhere, while nationalist theorists justify civic obligations only by reaching beyond liberal principles and invoking the importance of national culture. In Liberal Loyalty, Anna Stilz challenges both views by defending a distinctively liberal understanding of citizenship.
Drawing on Kant, Rousseau, and Habermas, Stilz argues that we owe civic obligations to the state if it is sufficiently just, and that constitutionally enshrined principles of justice in themselves--rather than territory, common language, or shared culture--are grounds for obedience to our particular state and for democratic solidarity with our fellow citizens. She demonstrates that specifying what freedom and equality mean among a particular people requires their democratic participation together as a group. Justice, therefore, depends on the authority of the democratic state because there is no way equal freedom can be defined or guaranteed without it. Yet, as Stilz shows, this does not mean that each of us should entertain some vague loyalty to democracy in general. Citizens are politically obligated to their own state and to each other, because within their particular democracy they define and ultimately guarantee their own civil rights.
Liberal Loyalty is a persuasive defense of citizenship on purely liberal grounds.
John Randolph LeBlanc
"Stilz has articulated with great clarity and consistency an alternative to both consent-theories of political obligation and to their nationalist counterparts. That alternative will find many supporters, and deserves to be taken very seriously even by its critics."Lea Ypi, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"One of the values of Stilz's work is her attempt to reclaim particular terms and categories from contemporary political and philosophical discourse. . . . The end of her work, the articulation of a rationally arrived-at duty of justice leading us to be loyal to democratic institutions and processes, is a worthwhile and ongoing project."John Randolph LeBlanc, American Review of Politics
"Anna Stilz's book [is] a thoughtful, compelling meditation on liberal citizenship."Steven Johnston, Perspectives on Politics
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