ABSTRACT

This chapter argues that general principles of liberty, equality, and neutrality are necessary conditions for political stability. The chapter draws significantly on Thomas Hobbes as a resource for deriving the normative requirements of stability. Hobbes recognized twin factors at the root of political conflict: the psychology of equality and sensitivity to disagreement. Hobbes believed that disagreement could be suppressed for the sake of political order, but that strategy is no longer viable. Instead, a stable political system must manage disagreement by embracing principles of political liberalism: liberty, equality, neutrality, and the rule of law. Failing any one of these will undermine citizens’ abilities to endorse the system in the manner that dependable stability requires.