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Rejecting Rights (Contemporary Political Theory) [Paperback]

Sonu Bedi

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Book Description

26 Feb 2009 Contemporary Political Theory
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.

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'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, 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, 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, Princeton University

Book Description

This provocative study challenges the concept of rights, arguing that they jeopardize liberty and undermine democratic debate. Deftly employing political theory and constitutional law to state its case, it radically rethinks the relationship between liberty and democracy. Essential reading for scholars and students of political and legal philosophy.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly, highly recommended... 2 May 2009
By theottersden - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a hybrid of normative political theory and constitutional law, well-written, and not too abstract. Indeed, Bedi includes many concerete examples of what his theory means in practice. Not only is this book a joy to read, it is one of the most interesting and most original books written about the right way to think about the constitutional limits on the power of the state in recent memory. Bedi's thesis --that we should reject rights and focus on the kinds of reasons that the state has for enacting particular laws-- is provocative and must be taken seriously. In the end, I wasn't entirely convinced that his version of Mill's harm principle could do the justificatory work that he claimed that it could, but this is one of the best books written about constitutional theory that I have read in a long time. Anyone who is interested in politics, political theory, constitutional law, or constitutional theory should read this book. You won't be disappointed.
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