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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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(p.201) Conclusion
The Pretenses of Loyalty

John Perry

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the argument of the book as a whole. Ultimately neither Locke nor his many heirs, including Rawls, offers a fully satisfactory way of relating religious and civic obligations. This is chiefly because Locke's “solution” rested on (unspoken) theological presuppositions that we now have reason to doubt. A final section examines what alternatives might be considered that do justice to such obligations. In particular, I suggest that the Johannine liberalism that runs from Locke to Rawls is characterized by a distrust of “thicker” accounts of toleration (those that are more ad hoc and less “principled”). This distrust is connected to liberal public reason, which makes impossible the richer public discourse that would make more nuanced responses to the theopolitical problem possible.

Keywords:   Locke, Rawls, Letter concerning Toleration, Sandel, public reason, rhetoric, Augustine

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