College Of Arts And Sciences | Liberty and its Enemies
E104 | 0167 | Furniss


9:30-10:45 TR WH 120	
In this course we take a look at the troubled boundary between the
value of individual liberty and the requirements of a democratic
society. Within prescribed limits we cherish the freedom to do and
say what we want, and we often, not always, acknowledge the
responsibilities associated with this freedom. But at the same time
for most of us individual liberty is not a solitary value. Does the
exercise of our freedoms make sense only within the framework of a
democratic nation and a pluralist society? If so, do these collective
entities have “rights” as well? For each individual, the dilemma is
posed by Hillel:
If I am not for myself, then who will be for me
If I am only for myself, then what am I for

We explore these questions from a number of perspectives.  We begin
with John Stuart mill’s famous treatise, On Liberty, and its relation
to American values and political life. We then look at a number of
objections and reformulations of this position. We conclude by
examining the extent to which the post-war German experience offers a
way to reconcile liberty and democratic order.
These issues will be developed through films, a novel, and a play, as
well as through works in political and legal thought. They mandate
discussion by people in the class, which we shall attempt to provide.
In terms of written assignments, there will be a number of short
papers and an in-class examination. There will be no final
examination.