Liberal Presumptions: A Response to Curtis

Political Theory 35 (3):341-47 (2007)
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Abstract

In his “Critical Response,” William Curtis presents three main criticisms against my position elaborated in “In Defense of Nonliberal Nationalism.” First, he alleges that my conception of national membership is “voluntarist” and ultimately liberal. Second, he claims that my position on nonliberal democracy is “quintessentially liberal.” Third, he charges that my account of nonliberal nationalism would allow the oppression of minorities. The first charge is based on Curtis’s misreading of my article. The second charge is interesting and worthy of consideration in itself. Yet Curtis fails to advance a clear argument to support it. The third charge has been dealt with in my original article, but I shall restate it here to meet Curtis’s objection. Although I shall address all three, the focus will be on the second, as I believe that it poses the strongest challenge to my position. In responding to these charges, I shall provide necessary clarification and elaboration and thereby strengthen the critiques, as Curtis’s own arguments are often unclear or non-existent.

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Ranjoo S. Herr
Bentley College

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