The moderate hegemony of liberal realism
in Liberal realism
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How can liberal realism justifies its claim to being a legitimate form of political authority once it has abandoned the consensus vision of the political? What distinguishes liberal realism as a form of political rule rather than mere domination? This question is particularly pertinent and problematic for a theory of liberal realism because it both accepts that it will need to coerce those that reject liberal values and principles yet is committed to respecting the freedom of all persons’ by constraining political power. So on what grounds is it legitimate for the state to coerce its non-liberal internal enemies? This chapter answers this question by developing Stephen Macedo’s notion of liberalism as a ‘moderate hegemony’. While in a liberal state liberals will necessarily be masters, they will be ‘restrained masters’ and this chapter sets out some of the normative and institutional restraints that liberals place on themselves. Crucially it is through this restraint that liberal realism not only respects the freedom of non-liberals but does so in such a way that distinguishes liberalism as a form of political rule, even though it does necessarily dominate or have mastery over those persons.

Liberal realism

A realist theory of liberal politics


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