The philosophers we have discussed this quarter have all supported, to some extent, the view that liberal governments (i.e. Western-style democracies that claim to guarantee a broad set of liberties to all people equally) are superior to other forms of government. For this paper, I want you to critically evaluate this view.

Prompt: Do you agree that liberal government is superior to other forms of government?


Your paper MUST make use of at least two sources from class. (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1 (142 -146),Plato, Republic, 368c –376d (59 –65),Rousseau, Of the Social Contract, Book 1 (437 –443),Locke, Second Treatise, Chapters 1-9 (365 –379),Martha Nussbaum, “Social Contracts . . .” ,Cicero, Republic, Book 1 (227-233),John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (917 –931),Aristotle, Politics, Book 1 (165 –174) and 3:12 –13 (194 –197),Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (957 –967),Locke, Letter Concerning Toleration (393 –400),Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 3 (775 –785),Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty (875 –894),Martha Nussbaum, The Feminist Critique of Liberalism (1028 –1053),Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (845 –856),Iris Marion Young, Five Faces of Oppression (1058 –1072),Isaiah Berlin, The Pursuit of the Ideal,Selections from Jose Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses)

Your paper must be an essay. That is, it must be a sustained and organized response to the prompt.
Your paper must be focused. An essay is not a series of related remarks. The paper should have a central argument / theme that is obvious to the reader.
Some questions to consider (all drawn from our readings): 

Are liberal governments more legitimate (justifiable to the governed) than other forms of government?
Do liberal governments protect and / or eliminate differences between groups within them?
Do liberal governments encourage or discourage oppressive relationships between citizens and / or non-citizens?
Do liberal governments protect some rights (e.g. the right to associate or own property) at the cost of the well-being of their citizens?
Do liberal governments offer a consistent understanding of freedom or liberty?

This paper requires more forethought and independent reasoning than the first two. If you’re struggling, please let me know.

The final paper must be 1300 to 1500 words long.

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