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  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: December 2009

5 - What Respect Does Not Require



If the line of thought I pursued in the prior chapter is convincing, justificatory liberals correctly focus on the norm of respect in order to identify (at least some of) the constraints a responsible citizen obeys in deciding whether to support a given coercive law and in advocating that others support that law. As I argued, since a citizen ought to respect his compatriots, he ought to adhere to the ideal of conscientious engagement. But the justificatory liberal wants to show a great deal more than that a citizen ought to adhere to that ideal. He also wants to show that respect for persons requires a citizen to adhere to the doctrine of restraint. And his commitment to the doctrine of restraint is, arguably, his central commitment. Indeed, it's because of its commitment to the doctrine of restraint that justificatory liberalism looms so large in my argument: the justificatory liberal's commitment to this doctrine provides him with principled grounds for the claim that a citizen ought not support any coercive law on the basis of his religious convictions alone. So the question I address in this chapter is as follows: given that a citizen ought to respect his compatriots, does he have an obligation, not only to abide by the ideal of conscientious engagement, but also to obey the doctrine of restraint?