Walzer on community and emergency: The question of minorities

Tom Sorell

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Walzer thinks that a community's way of life is important enough to wage war to defend it: important enough even to be defended by dirty-handed action on the part of a government. Again, since he does not think that illiberal but unforced ways of life are necessarily illegitimate, he denies that only liberal regimes have a right to fight for survival. Illiberal regimes cannot legitimately resort to murder or slavery, but so long as they abstain from significant official coercion and threats to life, they may depart legitimately from strong egalitarianism, and may legitimately give more weight to religion and nation than liberal, secular political arrangements do. Walzer's relativism and his exaggerated sympathy for attachments to ways of life, even highly illiberal ones, make his position ultimately unacceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal challenges to liberal democracy. Political participation, minorities and migrations
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789400759985
ISBN (Print)9400759975, 9789400759978
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

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