The Perversion of Autonomy: The Proper Uses of Coercion and Constraints in a Liberal Society
Civilization depends on the community's right to insist on certain conduct from its citizens. But today, a misguided reverence for individual freedom has denied the community this right, to the detriment of everyone. In the hallowed name of freedom, Americans have sanctified and legislated individual rights to a point that defies all common sense and offends all accepted principles of decency. Combining insights from modern psychological and political theory, best-selling author Willard Gaylin and co-author Bruce Jennings argue powerfully that we in America are now beginning to see the dark side of a decadent, overripe individualism. That individualism - once the glory of our democracy - has been extended and distorted to the point where it now threatens the very institutions that are necessary to support it. Gaylin and Jennings tell us that we must change the everyday behavior shaping the landscape of modern American society. Our current culture of autonomy is predicated on rationality as the basis of human conduct. But, we are reminded here, man is not inherently rational; appeals to emotion are far more effective than logical argument in changing our conduct. Thus, in order to motivate socially desirable behavior, society has not just the right but the duty to invoke fear, shame, and guilt, as well as pride. Persuasion and even direct coercion have claims to moral legitimacy. The authors show us, through their compelling arguments and examples, specific coercions that must be put into place if we are to stop the undermining of our democratic way of life and to preserve a free and liberal society.
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Land of the Free
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abuse action adult American animals appeals auton become behave biological capacity child choice cial civic civil coer coerced coercion coercive Colin Ferguson concept of autonomy conduct conscience constraints culture of autonomy danger defense defined deinstitutionalization dependence drug environment essential ethical everyday experience fear feel force freedom genetic guilt harm principle homeless human behavior human nature ical idea individual insanity defense instinct institutions Joel Feinberg liberal libertarian limits lives Lorena Bobbitt manipulation means ment mentally ill modern moral community motivation negative liberty NewYork Norplant one's parents patients person philosophical political positive liberty pregnant pride programs protect psychiatrists psychoanalysis psychological punishment Rashid Baz rational reason recognized relationships responsibility rules selfishness sense sexual shame social control social emotions social order society species survival teenage things threat tion tonomy unconscious understand values women York