Liberalism's Troubled Search for Equality: Religion and Cultural Bias in the Oregon Physician-Assisted Suicide Debates

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9780268032678: Liberalism's Troubled Search for Equality: Religion and Cultural Bias in the Oregon Physician-Assisted Suicide Debates

In Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality, Robert P. Jones presents a penetrating examination of physician-assisted suicide that exposes unresolved tensions deep within liberal political theory. Jones asks why egalitarian liberal philosophers—most notably, Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls—support legalized physician-assisted suicide in direct opposition to groups of disadvantaged citizens they theoretically champion. Jones argues that egalitarian liberals ought to oppose physician-assisted suicide—at least until we find the political will to ensure access to health care for all. More broadly, Jones challenges progressives to find the heart of the liberal tradition not in allegedly neutral appeals to “choice” but in a renewed commitment to equality and social justice that welcomes public religious voices as allies. “Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality is the most sophisticated analysis I have read that gives a social and philosophical context to the Oregon debate on assisted death. Jones’s meaningful discussion of moral values in liberal political philosophy incorporates strong scholarship and an impressive use of interviews and ethnography.” —Courtney S. Campbell, Oregon State University

"A fresh, challenging, and timely approach to the political intersections of religion and progressive politics. Cutting through the headlines on the contentious physician assisted suicide issue, Jones's intellectually rigorous focus on equality and justice as the key to shaping an authentic liberal response will have great appeal across political and religious lines. His approach offers precisely the right prescription for a stronger progressive movement." — Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

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About the Author:

Robert P. Jones is director and senior fellow at the Center for American Values in Public Life, People for the American Way Foundation.

Review:

"In this engrossing study of debates over physician-assisted suicide, Jones has issued a challenge to liberals. The old idea that liberalism is morally neutral and culturally unbiased will have to be discarded. But in doing so, liberals just may find allies among religious and other voices fighting for equality." —Amy Sullivan, The Washington Monthly

“Examining the legal debates surrounding Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, [Jones] argues that liberal theorists such as Ronald Dworkin, whom he otherwise admires, are wrong to weigh in on the side of physician-assisted suicide. The cause of their error, he argues, is a failure to recognize the cultural biases that help socially determine suicide choices. This failure is connected with a failure to fully articulate the commitment to egalitarianism suggested by Dworkin's own conception of 'equality of resources.'” —SciTech Book News, September 1, 2007

“Focuses on the writings of Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls in a critique of liberal egalitarian philosophers’ support for physician-assisted suicide; argues that liberal philosophers should oppose the practice, at least until access to health care is assured for all.” —The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Book Description University of Notre Dame Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Debate surrounding the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the first law to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in America, revealed some surprising contradictions. Most prominently, egalitarian liberal philosophers Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls backed a constitutional right to PAS in direct opposition to many groups of disadvantaged citizens they theoretically supported. These groups argued that legalized PAS in the absence of universal access to health care would potentially coerce the disadvantaged to end their lives prematurely because of inadequate financial resources. In Liberalism s Troubled Search for Equality , Robert P. Jones asks why these concerns were dismissed by liberal philosophers and argues that this contradiction exposes a blind spot within liberal political theory. Drawing on ethnographic interviews with activists and using PAS as a diagnostic tool, he argues that an egalitarian liberalism must abandon its overconfidence in its own neutrality, which undermines its ability to see the real needs and hear the actual voices of those it promises to champion. This correction would challenge liberals to see PAS differently, through a social justice frame of equality and inclusion rather than through an allegedly neutral frame of individual choice borrowed from the abortion debates. Jones further argues that giving up claims to neutrality will require liberalism and progressive politics to come to terms with an area of human culture that has long caused them uneasiness: religion. Jones argues that religious and other thick moral languages are not primarily problems but potential resources for helping liberalism stay true to its egalitarian aspirations. Jones brings together ethnography, political and social theory, and public policy analysis to offer a fresh perspective on the difficult issue of physician-assisted suicide. At the same time, Jones challenges progressives to find the heart of the liberal tradition not in arguments about liberty rooted in the abortion debates but in a renewed commitment to equality and social justice. He argues that egalitarian liberals ought to oppose physician-assisted suicide - at least until we find the political will to ensure access to health care for all. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780268032678

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Book Description University of Notre Dame Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Debate surrounding the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the first law to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in America, revealed some surprising contradictions. Most prominently, egalitarian liberal philosophers Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls backed a constitutional right to PAS in direct opposition to many groups of disadvantaged citizens they theoretically supported. These groups argued that legalized PAS in the absence of universal access to health care would potentially coerce the disadvantaged to end their lives prematurely because of inadequate financial resources. In Liberalism s Troubled Search for Equality , Robert P. Jones asks why these concerns were dismissed by liberal philosophers and argues that this contradiction exposes a blind spot within liberal political theory. Drawing on ethnographic interviews with activists and using PAS as a diagnostic tool, he argues that an egalitarian liberalism must abandon its overconfidence in its own neutrality, which undermines its ability to see the real needs and hear the actual voices of those it promises to champion. This correction would challenge liberals to see PAS differently, through a social justice frame of equality and inclusion rather than through an allegedly neutral frame of individual choice borrowed from the abortion debates. Jones further argues that giving up claims to neutrality will require liberalism and progressive politics to come to terms with an area of human culture that has long caused them uneasiness: religion. Jones argues that religious and other thick moral languages are not primarily problems but potential resources for helping liberalism stay true to its egalitarian aspirations. Jones brings together ethnography, political and social theory, and public policy analysis to offer a fresh perspective on the difficult issue of physician-assisted suicide. At the same time, Jones challenges progressives to find the heart of the liberal tradition not in arguments about liberty rooted in the abortion debates but in a renewed commitment to equality and social justice. He argues that egalitarian liberals ought to oppose physician-assisted suicide - at least until we find the political will to ensure access to health care for all. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780268032678

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Book Description University of Notre Dame Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Debate surrounding the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the first law to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in America, revealed some surprising contradictions. Most prominently, egalitarian liberal philosophers Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls backed a constitutional right to PAS in direct opposition to many groups of disadvantaged citizens they theoretically supported. These groups argued that legalized PAS in the absence of universal access to health care would potentially coerce the disadvantaged to end their lives prematurely because of inadequate financial resources. In Liberalism s Troubled Search for Equality , Robert P. Jones asks why these concerns were dismissed by liberal philosophers and argues that this contradiction exposes a blind spot within liberal political theory. Drawing on ethnographic interviews with activists and using PAS as a diagnostic tool, he argues that an egalitarian liberalism must abandon its overconfidence in its own neutrality, which undermines its ability to see the real needs and hear the actual voices of those it promises to champion. This correction would challenge liberals to see PAS differently, through a social justice frame of equality and inclusion rather than through an allegedly neutral frame of individual choice borrowed from the abortion debates. Jones further argues that giving up claims to neutrality will require liberalism and progressive politics to come to terms with an area of human culture that has long caused them uneasiness: religion. Jones argues that religious and other thick moral languages are not primarily problems but potential resources for helping liberalism stay true to its egalitarian aspirations. Jones brings together ethnography, political and social theory, and public policy analysis to offer a fresh perspective on the difficult issue of physician-assisted suicide. At the same time, Jones challenges progressives to find the heart of the liberal tradition not in arguments about liberty rooted in the abortion debates but in a renewed commitment to equality and social justice. He argues that egalitarian liberals ought to oppose physician-assisted suicide - at least until we find the political will to ensure access to health care for all. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780268032678

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