"Romantic Anarchism and Pedestrian Liberalism"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
Political Theory
Publication Type
Journal Article

Emma Goldman's stance toward anarchism was oddly mystified, even loving. Precisely this enchantment led her to see clearly the deep vices of Soviet Russia, when so many on the sane and sober Left were blind to them. So pedestrian liberals ought to relish having the extreme likes of Goldman in their midst. They—we—can faithfully recite their lessons from Mill about free speech, eccentrics, and the proliferation of viewpoints. But more recent liberals and deliberative democrats, insisting on the political centrality of reasonableness, would have problems embracing her. That should give us pause at the politics of reasonableness. And Goldman's infatuation with her own politics offers a tweak on Aristotle: a bad person can make a good citizen.

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