Gaus, Hayek, and the place of civil religion in a free society

Gaus, Hayek, and the place of civil religion in a free society In The Order of Public Reason, Gerald Gaus uses Hayekian insights to give a contractarian justification for the specific social rules the rules that comprise the social order of a free people. But in doing so, Gaus inadvertently endorses a kind of skepticism about our ability to justify the institutions that comprise our social order as a whole. The disadvantage of a political theory so pervasively skeptical is that, while contractors can arrive at a series of specific solutions to their social problems, they have no way to assure themselves that their moral nature and their moral practices as a whole are sufficiently sound that the rules they endorse are genuinely morally binding. I argue that this problem can be solved in political practice through the adoption of a civil religion. Civil religions provide narratives and social practices that assure members of free orders that their regimes are good or justified on the whole. In this way, we can introduce the idea of civil religion into contractarian political theory as a social technology for sustaining a free social order. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

Gaus, Hayek, and the place of civil religion in a free society

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science; History of Economic Thought/Methodology
ISSN
0889-3047
eISSN
1573-7128
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11138-016-0359-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In The Order of Public Reason, Gerald Gaus uses Hayekian insights to give a contractarian justification for the specific social rules the rules that comprise the social order of a free people. But in doing so, Gaus inadvertently endorses a kind of skepticism about our ability to justify the institutions that comprise our social order as a whole. The disadvantage of a political theory so pervasively skeptical is that, while contractors can arrive at a series of specific solutions to their social problems, they have no way to assure themselves that their moral nature and their moral practices as a whole are sufficiently sound that the rules they endorse are genuinely morally binding. I argue that this problem can be solved in political practice through the adoption of a civil religion. Civil religions provide narratives and social practices that assure members of free orders that their regimes are good or justified on the whole. In this way, we can introduce the idea of civil religion into contractarian political theory as a social technology for sustaining a free social order.

Journal

The Review of Austrian EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 10, 2016

References

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