Nessuna copertina

New Communitarians or Old Authoritarians?

Anno XXXI, n. 134, marzo-aprile 1996
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
The community idea is common currency for conservatives on the right and communitarians on the left. It risks generating a sort of obsequious "pragmatic" authoritarianism with utilitarianism as its ideological foundation. Unlike other principle-based totalitarian ideologies, utilitarianism is capable of developing into an end-state theory entirely devoid of principles. From a liberal viewpoint, the only acceptable classification of political theories is the one which distinguishes between procedural theories and end-state theories: that is, between theories founded on rights of freedom, hence designed to allow individuals to pursue their idea of happiness, and theories which, by opposing individual rights as a matter of principle, or because they are devoid of relevant principles, either wish to impose their idea of happiness on individuals or randomly distribute opportunities for success in the pursuit for happiness. The truth is that communities have no more rights over the rights of individuals than the state has. It is necessary to grasp this if we are to prevent authoritarianism reappearing dressed in "communitarian" clothing.