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Rejecting Rights

$118.00 (C)

Part of Contemporary Political Theory

  • Author: Sonu Bedi, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
  • Date Published: March 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521518284

$ 118.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The language of rights is ubiquitous. It shapes the way we construct our debates over issues such as abortion, affirmative action and sexual freedom. This provocative new study challenges the very concept of rights, arguing that they jeopardize our liberty and undermine democratic debate. By re-conceptualizing our ideas about limited government, it suggests that we can limit the reasons or rationales on which the polity may act. Whereas we once used the language of rights to thwart democratic majorities, Bedi argues that we should now turn our attention to the democratic state's reason for acting. This will permit greater democratic flexibility and discretion while ensuring genuine liberty. Deftly employing political theory and constitutional law to state its case, the study radically rethinks the relationship between liberty and democracy, and will be essential reading for scholars and students of political and legal philosophy.

    • Evaluates a variety of current and controversial issues, from same-sex marriage to affirmative action
    • In-depth analyses of cases settled by the United States Supreme Court put theory into practice
    • Proposes a groundbreaking new theory of limited government
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “This is an important book, raising a frontal challenge to the regnant paradigm of liberal political thought. And to top it off, it's a genuine pleasure to read!”
    Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University

    “Sonu Bedi offers not only a vigorous critique of the use of rights in political justification but also a novel approach to defending the idea of limited government. Rejecting Rights may well be rejected by liberals and libertarians alike, but Bedi presents a case that is not easily dismissed.”
    Chandran Kukathas, Chair in Political Theory, London School of Economics and Political Science

    “Provocative, deeply original, and lucid: this book makes a powerful case for downplaying liberalism’s focus on individual rights in favor of a more nimble requirement of public justification in the face of encroachments on liberty. Sonu Bedi’s Rejecting Rights should provoke a fresh reconsideration of liberal constitutionalism. An impressive achievement.”
    Stephen J. Macedo, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and Director of the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521518284
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 155 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Rights:
    1. The classic conception of rights: the 'democratic deficit'
    2. Reflexive rights: jeopardizing freedom, equality, and democratic debate
    Part II. Justification in Theory:
    3. The turn to justification
    4. A theory of justification: specifying the appropriate legislative purpose
    5. Rejecting rights
    Part III. Justification in Practice:
    6. Rejecting the constitutional rights to property and religion
    7. Rejecting the constitutional right to privacy
    8. Equal protection and judicial review

  • Author

    Sonu Bedi, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
    Sonu Bedi is Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. Bedi works in the intersection of law and political theory. His publications include Political Contingency: Studying the Unexpected, the Accidental, and the Unforeseen (co-editor, 2007) and articles in constitutional law and political philosophy.

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