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Ideas of Avineri,S/De-Shalit,A, by Text

[Israeli, fl. 1992, At Hebrew University, Israel.]

1992 Intro to 'Communitarianism and Individualism'
4 p.6 Can individualist theories justify an obligation to fight in a war?
     Full Idea: How can an individualist theory justify an obligation to fight for the state in the case of war?
     From: Avineri,S/De-Shalit,A (Intro to 'Communitarianism and Individualism' [1992], 4)
     A reaction: The most dramatic example of obliging citizens to contribute to the state, the notable other case being taxes. Some imagined ancient 'social contract' doesn't seem sufficient for later generations. Does being naturally sociable create such obligations?
4 p.7 Autonomy is better achieved within a community
     Full Idea: Communitarians often argue that personal autonomy is better achieved within the community.
     From: Avineri,S/De-Shalit,A (Intro to 'Communitarianism and Individualism' [1992], 4)
     A reaction: Hegel is the source of this view. The simplest version of the point is that autonomy can only be asserted if a person has rights, which can be asserted and defended, and only a society can provide that. That is plausible.
5 p.9 Communitarians avoid oppression for the common good, by means of small mediating communities
     Full Idea: Because of the mediating structures of small communities, communitarians are less fearful [than liberals] of the emergence of an oppressive government as a result of the politics of the common good.
     From: Avineri,S/De-Shalit,A (Intro to 'Communitarianism and Individualism' [1992], 5)
     A reaction: A politics of the common good has an obvious implicit conservatism because the central consensus is always likely to disapprove of errant individuals, of all sorts. Only individual rights can block an oppressive government.
5 p.10 If our values are given to us by society then we have no grounds to criticise them
     Full Idea: If communitarians are right that we are not free to choose, but rather that our values are determined by our community, the individualists say, then there is no reason to criticise the values of one's society.
     From: Avineri,S/De-Shalit,A (Intro to 'Communitarianism and Individualism' [1992], 5)
     A reaction: This is an obvious challenge, but if one's concept of community is a forum for free debate then it can be overcome. There is no avoiding the fact, though, that a good community always needs a high degree of consensus.
5 p.11 Liberalism is minimal government, or individual rights, or equality
     Full Idea: Liberalism has been defended as a theory of minimal government, or as a theory of basic individual rights, or as an egalitarian philosophy.
     From: Avineri,S/De-Shalit,A (Intro to 'Communitarianism and Individualism' [1992], 5)
     A reaction: Minimal government tends towards anarchist liberalism, but then what grounds the right to be free of government? Presumably any sensible theory of rights has to be egalitarian. What could ground unequal rights?