Liberal political philosophy emphasizes the benefits of membership in a cultural group and, in the opinion of this challenging book, neglects its harmful, oppressive aspects. Andrew Kernohan argues that an oppressive culture perpetuates inegalitarian social meanings and false assumptions about who is entitled to what. Cultural pollution harms fundamental interests in self-respect and knowledge of the good and is diffuse, insidious, and unnoticed. This cultural pollution is analogous to environmental pollution, and though difficult to detect, is nonetheless just as real. The book's conclusion is that a liberal state committed to the moral equality of persons must accept a strong role in reforming our cultural environment.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 148
Weight: 230 g
Dimensions: 229 x 154 x 13 mm
'Kernohan makes out a strong and daring case that the liberal state should not be neutral regarding people's conceptions of the good but should favor an egalitarian ethic and actively promote it within popular political culture. Socialists with this view of the role of the state have usually also been critics of liberalism per se. In this respect they have been like conservative counterparts who agree that the state should avoid value neutrality, but differ about what values it should favor. By contrast, Kernohan's challenge is internal to liberalism. It thus cannot be dismissed by liberal theorists. The book will surely spark a lively and important debate.' Frank Cunningham, University of Toronto
'The great value of the book lies not in its approach to any particular issue, but in its timely reminder that a liberal's work is never done.' Jonathan Wolff, The Times Literary Supplement