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By Yusef Waghid

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Extra info for Community and Democracy in South Africa: Liberal Versus Communitarian Perspectives (Europaische Hochschulschriften. Reihe XX, Philosophie, Bd. 666.)

Example text

Galston (1991: 42) argues that atomistic individualism is claimed “to undermine community, to restrict unduly opportunities for democratic participation, to create inegalitarian hierarchy, and to reinforce egoistic social conflict at the expense of the common good” – the latter referring to “a good in which each man (woman) has a share and that share, in turn, consists in realizing his (her) capacities of feeling […] of mental and physical energy, and in realizing these he (she) plays his (her) part in the social life […] the common good is simply the total of all lives that are in mutual harmony” (Weinstein, 2001: 177).

Instead, Mill posits that such a view of the self is of little help for people in the formation of their character, for the reason that it ignores the fact that social interaction modifies our character in accordance with essential interests in living a good life. Mill (1962: 71) claims that people’s concern is not 37 only with promoting their worldly interests, but also with the manner in which their affections and desires, that is, characters are formed through social interactions. In this way, Mill states, one can defend the liberal concern for civic freedoms, for a public sphere of expression, and for a liberal education.

Walzer (1983), a champion of “communitarianism of the left”, posits that equal membership of a political community is the precondition for practices of distributive justice citizens of such a community might engage in. My concern with a political community which unites members as equal persons, is the view that people need to engage in collective deliberation. In this regard, I find the seminal ideas of Alasdair MacIntyre apposite, in particular his efforts to establish a kind of left communitarianism which advances the practice of collective deliberation.

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