Communitarianism: A New Agenda for Politics and Citizenship by Henry Tam (auth.)

By Henry Tam (auth.)

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40 Communitarianism Dictatorship Based on Self-proclaimed Equality versus Dictatorship Based on Self-proclaimed Superiority The Left-Right labels have also been much utilized in explaining differences in policy decisions in relation to dictatorial regimes. Critics of American foreign policy have consistently protested against American support for rebel forces against Leftist regimes in countries such as Cuba, Vietnam and Nicaragua, while it was tolerant (if not at times suspiciously supportive) of the Right-wing regimes in Chile and Argentina.

Dalton, 1988, p. 226) From a communitarian point of view, both individualism and authoritarianism make untenable assumptions about the nature of political knowledge, and have undesirable implications for political power distribution. Mixing the two wrongs - for example, be it the neo-conservative mix of economic individualism with social authoritarianism, or the state socialist combination of social individualism with economic authoritarianism - would not create a good solution either. The politics of building inclusive communities, however, does not bring with it a prescriptive ideology of what policies are to be implemented by governments.

David Marquand has written of the emergence of 'an alternative response based on the notions of community and social capital', which 'stands for a stakeholder economy, in which markets work for the public good instead of against it; for a vibrant public domain ... [and] for bottom-up, locally-led development instead of a centralist Fabianism of the past'. He calls it the 'vision of a communitarian ethical socialism, combining individual empowerment with social solidarity' (Marquand, 1995). The new challenge is to decide how markets are to be supported so that they can serve the communities on which they rely to function, and how the public domain is to be sustained by traditions of civic virtues, and strengthened by networks of community institutions (see Willetts, 1994).

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