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Paradoxes of Liberal DemocracyIslam, Western Europe, and the Danish Cartoon Crisis$
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Paul M. Sniderman, Michael Bang Petersen, Rune Slothuus, and Rune Stubager

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161105

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161105.001.0001

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The Covenant Paradox

The Covenant Paradox

(p.52) Chapter 3 The Covenant Paradox
Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy

Paul M. Sniderman

Michael Bang Petersen

Rune Slothuus

Rune Stubager

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents a theory of the covenant paradox, i.e., the moral covenant underpinning the welfare state that simultaneously promotes equal treatment for (some) immigrants and provides a platform for discrimination against (other) immigrants. It first discusses under what conditions and why the moral premises of the welfare state favor the equal treatment of immigrants. It then considers under what conditions and why the very same moral premises open the door to discrimination against immigrants. It shows that the key to these contradictory outcomes is the temporal logic of evaluative judgments. Prospective judgments of benefits and obligations favor equal treatment. Retrospective judgments, again of benefits and obligations, pave the way for discriminatory treatment.

Keywords:   welfare state, immigrants, equal treatment, discrimination, evaluative judgments, prospective judgments, retrospective judgments, covenant paradox

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