Foundations of the liberal make-believe

Inquiry 14 (1-4):213 – 237 (1971)
Abstract
Among three possible avenues toward a good society ? revolutionary Marxism, liberal?democratic reform, and radical citizenship education ? this paper examines and advocates the third. Societies are held to be ?good? so long as the Most Basic Rights are in fact enjoyed by all (i.e. the right (1) to stay alive, (2) to remain unmolested, and (3) to be free to develop one's potentialities). Some key propositions in ?contract theory? as represented by such diverse theorists as Socrates, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Tussman and Meiklejohn are discussed, and an alternative tradition, ?freedom theory?, is sketched, with contributions from Socrates, Godwin, Thoreau, and Camus. An argument is then developed to the effect that the contract theorists have all contributed to the basis on which the contemporary ?liberal make?believe? rests. This term refers to the myth that our society is democratic, i.e. that working (only) within the system of our constitutional procedures will or can lead toward a just society. Finally, it is argued that the highest priority in citizenship education is to destroy this liberal make?believe, and that freedom theory provides a better foundation than contract theory in the struggle for human rights, and for mankind's survival
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References found in this work BETA
Fred H. Willhoite (1968). Beyond Nihilism. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press.
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