By Henry Tam (auth.)
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Extra info for Communitarianism: A New Agenda for Politics and Citizenship
18-19) Although the communities composing the kind of civil society that writers such as Hollenbach and Walzer wish to promote are not part of government, they are political in the sense that they offer citizens opportunities to deliberate and determine matters which affect them collectively. Rather than trying to locate this dimension of human existence somewhere along a rigid Left-Right continuum, what is required is a reconceptualization of the 'public' which would put an end to any simplistic correlation between the public-private and Left-Right divides.
If the answer refers to criterion z again, then the whole chain of reasoning is exposed as being circular. If it refers to another criterion, then the same question would be raised again, and this process of epistemological interrogation would go on until either (a) it terminates at a point which is blocked off from further questioning - which would be seen to be arbitrary; or (b) it goes on without end, in which case the quest for a foundational point is found to be futile. From the sceptic's point of view, only Option 3 is left.
The passivity engendered by dependency on state provisions is taken into account as a negative factor which needs to be dealt with. Citizens need to be able to look after themselves; the question is, how best can the state assist them when neither the free market nor direct state provisions can provide a long-term solution. Some socialists accept that a fundamental rethink is required. David Selbourne, for example, has written: The old socialism is dead; the new civic social-ism, neither of 'left' nor 'right' but transcending both and resting upon the principle of Re-mapping the Ideological Battleground 37 duty, is waiting to be born.
Communitarianism: A New Agenda for Politics and Citizenship by Henry Tam (auth.)