Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1463289
 


 



In Defense of State Neutrality


Wibren Van der Burg


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law; Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Frans W.A. Brom


Rathenau Instituut

August 28, 2009

ANGEWANDTE ETHIK IN DER PLURALISTISCHEN GESELLSCHAFT, Freiburg, K.P. Rippe, Hrsg., CH: Freiburger Universitätsverlag

Abstract:     
Most discussions of neutrality focus on the liberal tradition as it has developed in the USA. In this article we defend an approach that finds its inspiration in the Dutch tradition. In one respect, our theory of neutrality is more restricted than the American liberal positions. Three categories of the good may be distinguished: goods, the good life, and the good society. In a liberal political theory the state cannot be neutral regarding conceptions of goods or regarding conceptions of the good society, but it should be neutral regarding conceptions of the good life. This form of neutrality is, however, only a derivative prima facie norm. In a second respect, our theory of neutrality is broader than the usual liberal positions. Neutrality may be seen as a standard not only for the input of the procedure, but for all aspects of the political process. We illustrate our approach with an analysis of the German discussion on crucifixes in classrooms.

This is the English version of the text which was originally published in German.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: neutrality, liberalism, crucifix, pluralism, Netherlands, conceptions of the good, legal moralism

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Date posted: September 9, 2009 ; Last revised: August 25, 2010

Suggested Citation

van der Burg, Wibren and Brom, Frans W.A., In Defense of State Neutrality (August 28, 2009). ANGEWANDTE ETHIK IN DER PLURALISTISCHEN GESELLSCHAFT, Freiburg, K.P. Rippe, Hrsg., CH: Freiburger Universitätsverlag. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1463289

Contact Information

Wibren Van der Burg (Contact Author)
Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law ( email )
Section Jurisprudence
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
HOME PAGE: http://www.wibrenvanderburg.eu
Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )
London
United Kingdom
Frans W.A. Brom
Rathenau Instituut ( email )
P.O. Box 95366
CJ Den Haag 2509
Netherlands
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