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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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Refusing the Turn

Refusing the Turn

Jeffersonian Separatists and Lockean Natural Lawyers

(p.143) 6 Refusing the Turn
The Pretenses of Loyalty

John Perry

Oxford University Press

Despite the turn to loyalty made by some recent liberal theorists and the analogous turn made by the early Locke, some today persist in denying the problem of doing so. There are at least two ways in which one might refuse the practical implications of the turn to loyalty. First, one might deny that such obligations and identities are in any way a challenge to political life because they can be privatized without remainder. This can be called Jeffersonian separatism of a naïve sort. Second, one might refuse the turn to loyalty in the opposite direction: All “good Americans” share a common morality that is by definition perfectly compatible with Christianity and should be accepted by all people of goodwill and right reason. Those who refuse the turn to loyalty in this way can be called Lockean natural lawyers. Examples of each are examined.

Keywords:   Kramnick, Moore, West, Jefferson, Jeffersonian separatism, natural law, Locke, religious Right, secular Left, secularism

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