So we were busy. But it’s okay. It’s only a game, and that game is philosophy tag. When we were last in session, Michael Bishop (Florida State) had tagged Sarah Conly (Bowdoin) for her book. “Book!” I exclaimed. “Let us return to the humble article.” Well, for someone whose book is called Against Autonomy, Professor Conly is apparently set on doing things her own way, for she tagged a book, too. Let’s see which one:
Corey Brettschneider (Brown) is a political scientist, but his When the State Speaks, What Should it Say: How Democracy Can Protect Free Expression and Promote Equality, is a philosophical book. Brettschneider explores the familiar problem of what a democratic state should do about citizens who promote anti-democratic values—-racism, or religious intolerance, or sexism. While many believe that the state should remain neutral when it comes to competing values among its citizens, Brettschneider argues that on the contrary, the government should use its varied powers (including its powers to spend and subsidize) to promote the ideal of equal citizenship and to discourage the promotion of values that are antithetical to democracy. The state should take a stand, and persuade citizens that some political beliefs are wrong-headed. Many will find these ideas controversial, but Brettschneider makes his argument clearly and convincingly. This is a well-written and lively book. So, Corey Brettschneider, you are it!