Thursday, December 15, 2022
Check out Robert Tsai's Civic Education and Democracy's Flaws, Nomos:
This is an invited essay developing remarks made at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. I respond to Seana Shiffrin’s plea for increased investment in teaching legal knowledge as a way to revitalize civic education and enhance democratic engagement. First, while I applaud Shiffrin’s embrace of a robust conception of citizenship, I am doubtful that increased facility with legal methods will be sufficient to cure the ailments that afflict American democracy. Instead of creating more citizens who are technically proficient in the law, we must raise a generation of political diagnosticians. Second, beyond habits such as listening, truth-telling, and toleration, we must cultivate a capacity for righteous outrage, fear of role reversal, and wisdom in managing the multiplicity of relationships and identities in modern life. Otherwise, teaching legal proficiency could very well reinforce existing patterns of corruption or inequality. Third, when it comes to the content of civic education, we should select texts that help citizens draw connections between despised policies and the structural features of our political existence. In other words, we should show citizens how to reason from injustice.