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Republicanism and Citizenship – Lesson Summary

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Republican political thought is deeply rooted in ancient history. Having started with Aristotle, it has been adapted to the contemporary world by modern thinkers.

In practice republican thoughts underlies most contemporary democracies, even though most of those seem to embody liberal principles than republican ones. Through severe critics, Republicanism could provide a way to preventing the occurrence of many of the main problems encountered in liberalism.

There are two main forms of republicanism:
• Classical Republicanism
• Modern Republicanism
Classical Republicanism refers to forms of thoughts and practices. Modern Republicanism takes roots into the reflexions of Machiavelli.

The main Republican criticisms of liberalism are twofold. First and foremost, there is no imposing any theory of good life. No one should impose any political ideology, for any attempt to do so might cause much slaughter. The State must be neutral about what seems to be good. Secondly, society is made up of individuals and their decisions must be freely made. We must therefore tolerate the resulting diversity of religion, ways of life, cultural preferences, and what not.

Republicanism emerged as a result of problems and conflicts that liberalism cannot resolve. In practice, liberalism is quite different from the theory. It allows as many unquestionable rights that it runs into many practical incoherencies and problems, with clashes happening frequently.

Unfortunately, liberalism has no conceptual resources to solve difficulties that arise from these clashes and conflicting rights, because in the realm of liberalism, reasoned analyses, criticisms and evaluations of our ways of life cannot be done. So, contemporary republicans have attempted to identify constructive responses which enable us to circumvent the difficulties of liberalism
Actually, according to Republicans, we live with facts and disagreements and we need practical judgment, which leads to politics, a supreme human activity. It is what integrates and makes sense of our role or order in society. It enables us to identify what is to be fully human, and we need to recognize and pay far more attention to what is happening in the political space including our system of state, our legal and judicial processes, and so on, at every level.
Under Republican thought, anything in human life is potentially a matter for reasoned and informed public deliberation, and the role of mass media and internet is unquestionable.
What we produce and how we produce it and what we consume and how we consume it are just matters of preference for liberalism. They are private matters, but in republican though, they are part and parcel of the significant discuss of citizenship, of the discuss in the public space.
Citizens’ assembly is a group of people brought together to learn about a specific policy and challenges to deliberate on possible actions and eventually formulate a policy recommendation. The real problem we need to solve is the politicians’ willingness to establish assemblies and implement recommendations.