chapter  1
21 Pages

The Problem of Liberal Democratic Political Culture

Immanuel Kant famously held that it is possible to construct a stable liberal regime for a people regardless of their moral character.3 While his political philosophy stands in the Enlightenment tradition that begins with accounts of human nature and morality, 4 his approach is austere: his regime requires only that citizens “possess understanding.” In other words, a stable liberal regime need not include obedience to an innate natural law, ethical habituation, submission to moral sentiments, or intuitive contact with moral principles. All that we need are rational citizens who know their interests and pursue these effi ciently.