|Abstract||In this paper I argue that political liberalism is not the “minimalist liberalism” characterised by Michael Sandel and that it does not support the vision of public life characteristic of the procedural republic. I defend this claim by developing two points. The first concerns Rawls’s account of public reason. Drawing from examples in Canadian free speech jurisprudence I show how restrictions on commercial advertising, obscenity and hate propaganda can be justified by political values. Secondly, political liberalism also attends to the identity, and not just the interests, of its citizens. It attempts to cultivate certain virtues of character. But it does so in a way that does not entail the acceptance of a comprehensive or perfectionist doctrine. Rawls’s defence of neutrality of aim does not mean the state should be neutral towards all the views its citizens espouse. I conclude that political liberalism shares little with the doctrine Sandel claims is embedded in American law|
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