Monday, April 6, 2009

we're interdependent

We in America have become too concerned with rights. So much so are we dependent on rights that as Dagger writes "everyone is trying to play a trump card (in which case it) is likely to end in deadlock" (pg 3). Dagger goes on to list three complaints due to the abundance of appealing to rights. First is the "complaint that rights are by their nature intransigent". Second is that conceptually, rights are too one-sided and individualistic. Lastly, this constant over saturation with rights will inevitably weaken all appeals to rights.
This is a problem for Dagger that needs to be overcome. We need to "find a way of strengthening the appeal of duty, community, and related concepts while preserving the appeal of rights" (pg 4). As a response, Dagger offers us republican liberalism. At first, as Dagger notes, the concept of republican liberalism seems odd. Both republican and liberalism seem at odds with one another, especially seem in a American contemporary context. 'Liberalism' would seem to promote the individual while 'republican' would seem to promote group wants and needs.
The contradictory terms are in fact not contradictory, or at least according to Dagger. "Perhaps the best way to put the point is to say that autonomy and civic virtue are complementary because both concepts help us to see how independence is related to dependence.... in other words We are interdependent" (pg 17-18).

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