Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues
Linda C. McClain
Harvard University Press, 2013
Many have argued in recent years that the U.S. constitutional system exalts individual rights over responsibilities, virtues, and the common good. Answering the charges against liberal theories of rights, Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues develops and defends a civic liberalism that takes responsibilities and virtues—as well as rights—seriously. It provides an account of ordered liberty that protects basic liberties stringently, but not absolutely, and permits government to encourage responsibility and inculcate civic virtues without sacrificing personal autonomy to collective determination. This account of civic liberalism explains and defends the principles, policies, and institutions designed to form responsible citizens. The book uses the battle over access to marriage by same-sex couples as one of many current controversies to defend an understanding of the relationship among rights, responsibilities, and virtues. Against accusations that same-sex marriage severs the rights of marriage from responsible sexuality, procreation, and parenthood, the book argues that same-sex couples seek the same rights, responsibilities, and goods of civil marriage that opposite-sex couples pursue. Securing their right to marry respects individual autonomy while also promoting moral goods and virtues. Other issues to which the book applies the authors’ idea of civic liberalism include reproductive freedom, the proper roles and regulation of civil society and the family, the education of children, and clashes between First Amendment freedoms (of association and religion) and antidiscrimination law. Articulating common ground between liberalism and its critics, Ordered Liberty moves beyond old debates about rights and develops an account of responsibilities and virtues that appreciates the value of diversity in our morally pluralistic constitutional democracy.
Table of contents: Chapter 1. Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues; Chapter 2. Rights and Irresponsibility; Chapter 3. Taking Responsibilities as well as Rights Seriously; Chapter 4. Civil Society’s Role in Cultivating the “Seedbeds of Virtue”; Chapter 5. Government’s Role in Promoting Civic Virtues; Chapter 6. Conflicts between Liberty and Equality; Chapter 7. Autonomy versus Moral Goods; Chapter 8. Minimalism versus Perfectionism; Chapter 9. The Myth of Strict Scrutiny for Fundamental Rights; Epilogue: Pursuing Ordered Liberty
This book is in abstract only.
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