Balancing the Plurality of Liberal Values Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Dean, Nathan W.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • The thesis of this dissertation is that liberal pluralism supports the rejection of state policies that reflect an imbalance of liberal values. Specifically, it argues that liberal pluralism is inconsistent with permitting the promotion of values like autonomy, equality, and democracy to crowd out other values like liberty, toleration, and privacy. It also argues that liberal pluralism is inconsistent with the promotion of overly narrow conceptions of liberal values (e.g. promoting equality by guaranteeing strict economic equality while showing little or no concern for equality of status or objective well-being, and vice-versa). The individual chapters of this dissertation reaffirm the importance of maintaining a balance of liberal values, while finding fault with a number of well-meaning attempts to promote particular liberal values. Examining the promotion of liberal values like autonomy, equality, and fairness from the perspective of liberal pluralism, it becomes clear that because these liberal values often conflict with others, it is typically unwise to emphasize one or more of them without consideration for the others. Liberal theorists who refuse to seek a balance of liberal values, or pretend that there is nothing to balance in the first place, run the risk of supporting policies that undermine the promise of liberalism even as they promote particular liberal values. This dissertation serves as a reminder of the costs of inattention to balance and the benefits that can be achieved through the cultivation of explicitly liberal pluralist strategies for securing liberal democracy.
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  • In Copyright
  • Spinner-Halev, Jeff
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2014

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