Political Liberalism. Neutrality and the Political
Version of Record online: 2 AUG 2007
Volume 7, Issue 3, pages 314–324, December 1994
How to Cite
MOUFFE, C. A. (1994), Political Liberalism. Neutrality and the Political. Ratio Juris, 7: 314–324. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9337.1994.tb00185.x
- Issue online: 2 AUG 2007
- Version of Record online: 2 AUG 2007
Abstract. The paper examines the current discussion in liberalism around the issue of the “neutrality” of the state. It scrutinizes the “political liberalism” defended by John Rawls and Charles Larmore and shows that the consequence of their approach is to evacuate the dimension of “the political” from the idea of a well-ordered society. By presenting the exclusions existing in their model of liberal society as the product of free agreement resulting from rational procedures, “political liberals” offer us a picture in which antagonism, violence and power have only disappeared because they have been made invisible. The consequence is to leave liberalism unable to conceptualize power and antagonism. The paper concludes that there cannot be such a thing as a “neutral justification of the neutrality of the state” (Larmore 1987) and that a pluralist perfectionist perspective like the one proposed by Joseph Raz offers a more adequate way to envisage the specificity of modern pluralist democracy.