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When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality$
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Corey Brettschneider

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147628

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147628.001.0001

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The Principle of Public Relevance and Democratic Persuasion

The Principle of Public Relevance and Democratic Persuasion

Value Democracy’s Two Guiding Ideas

(p.24) Chapter One The Principle of Public Relevance and Democratic Persuasion
When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?

Corey Brettschneider

Princeton University Press

This chapter proposes a “principle of public relevance,” which claims that when beliefs, expression, and practices conflict with the ideal of free and equal citizenship, they should be changed to make them compatible with that ideal. There are two ways to fulfill the principle of public relevance, consistent with a respect for rights. The first way, “reflective revision,” emphasizes the duty of citizens to incorporate the ideal of free and equal citizenship into their own set of beliefs and practices. The second way is “democratic persuasion.” It gives the state and citizens two duties: they should convince other citizens to adopt the ideal of free and equal citizenship, and they should criticize policies and positions that oppose free and equal citizenship. Together, reflective revision and democratic persuasion specify how the principle of public relevance can be realized.

Keywords:   public relevance, equal citizenship, reflective revision, citizens, democratic persuasion, state

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