Beyond Neutrality: Perfectionism and Politics by George Sher

By George Sher

Many folks, together with many modern philosophers, think that the nation has no enterprise attempting to enhance people's characters, or bring up their tastes, or hinder them from residing degraded lives. they think that governments should still stay totally impartial by way of the dignity of competing conceptions of the nice. One primary goal of George Sher's booklet is to teach that this view is indefensible. A moment complementary goal is to articulate a perception of the nice that's valuable of promoting through the kingdom.

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Confusion is possible because many political roles also impose restrictions on the reasons for which their occupants may act. For example, the broadly political role "police officer" allows its occupants to use their powers to enforce the law, but not to advance their merely private ends. This greatly limits, if it does not altogether eliminate, the freedom of the police to promote the good as they see it. Yet even if the police must never act for nonneutral reasons, this prohibition has no special connection to the political nature of their role.

Alasdair Maclntyre, After Virtue, zd ed. (Notre Dame, IncL: University of Notre Dame, 1984), p. 195. 4. Michael J. Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 1. 5. Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 110. 6. In addition to Rawls and Dworkin, other contemporary defenders of neutralism (or closely related views) include Robert Nozick, Bruce Ackerman, Thomas Nagel, Charles Larmore, Will Kymlicka, Richard Arneson, and D.

That rationale, to repeat, was simply that if no individuals were prohibited from acting for nonneutral reasons, then governments could not effectively be prohibited from doing so either. But given this reasoning, the individuals to whom the prohibition must apply are clearly the 29 Beyond neutrality ones whose reasons will become (or stand a great enough likelihood of becoming) the sorts of governmental reasons that the principle rules out. This means, for example, that if the principle of neutrality applies at the legislative level, it will constrain at least the legislators themselves and probably also the aides and advisors who will (most) directly influence their reasoning.

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