Jonathan Marks The Responsive Communitarian Platform states that communitarians "favor strong democracy." Among the features that distinguish new, responsive communities from old, authoritarian communities is the "genuine dialogue" that takes place in them.1 Dialogue is the answer to at least two objections to communitarianism. First, doesn't communitarianism license the majority to impose its views on minorities? On the contrary, responsive communities are consensual, not majoritarian, and dialogue is the means by which consensus develops. Second, isn't communitarianism nostalgic? On the contrary, communitarian dialogue explains how communities respond creatively to historical change without coming apart and without succumbing to the rule of bureaucrats and experts. In this essay, I will focus on Amitai Etzioni's recent articulation of the idea of moral dialogues.2 I will begin by explaining how the idea of moral dialogues arises in response to a problem Etzioni articulates in his 1968 work, The Active Society.3 Then, I will consider how well the idea of moral dialogues addresses that problem. The use of the term "strong democracy" in the Responsive Communitarian Platform and Benjamin Barber's involvement in the communitarian movement at the time of the platform's drafting suggests that any full treatment of communitarian dialogue would have
The Good Society – Penn State University Press
Published: Jan 12, 2005
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