chapter  7
21 Pages

Citizens

In this chapter I turn to citizens’ duties to support their state and defend the view that those duties can appeal to a relationship good I term ‘democratic respect’. This view articulates an egalitarian assumption of democratic political arrangements from which, so I argue, fidelity to the law can be derived. It does not draw inspiration from more immediate social relationships and does not appeal to a normative analogy with the family which, according to Simmons, is one of the features which defines associative accounts of political obligation. 1 Simmons says that another feature of associative accounts is their antivoluntarism, and here he is nearer the mark. Any defence of associative political obligations needs also to confront the challenge of voluntarism, made forcefully by Simmons to the effect that only genuinely voluntary acts of consent can legitimately incur obligations. 2 In fact, his voluntarism is directed at other theories of political obligation besides associative ones-including the fair play and natural duty of justice accounts-but associativism might appear to find the voluntarist critique unusually taxing insofar if it appeals to the mere fact that we enjoy certain sorts of social relationships with our fellow citizens. Indeed, another of Simmons’s alleged features of associativism is the claim that social practices just in themselves impose obligations on their participants without recourse to external moral principles. 3 It is not enough to reject this simple nonreductionist outlook. The relationship goods theory appeals to internal goods, not external principles, but applying it to the problem of political obligation involves articulating the precise value of democratic respect and how it grounds a moral requirement to obey the law. I seek to do that in 7.5. 4 In Chapter Eight I further consider the duties of democratic respect in the light of the duties which citizens also owe to those beyond their borders.