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The Pretenses of LoyaltyLocke, Liberal Theory, and American Political Theology$
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John Perry

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756544.001.0001

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Liberalism's Turn to Loyalty

Liberalism's Turn to Loyalty

(p.17) 1 Liberalism's Turn to Loyalty
The Pretenses of Loyalty

John Perry

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by recalling the case of a New York City priest threatened with jail for not revealing evidence obtained in confession. The case helps reveal tensions that lie within liberalism, caused by what could be called its “identity problem” and “neutrality problem.” The latter is studied via writers such as William Galston and Michael Sandel, who show that liberalism cannot remain neutral with regard to the good in the way that the early Rawls proposed. They seek a liberalism that can accommodate republican or communitarian elements, which are decidedly not neutral. Those who recognize this and who seek an approach that incorporates rather than strips away constitutive commitments can be said to have made a “turn to loyalty.” The chapter concludes by offering a definition of loyalty that hopes to capture what has heretofore been missing.

Keywords:   Sandel, Fish, Galston, Kymlicka, priest-penitent confession, turn to loyalty, allegiance, unencumbered self

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