Journalism Without Journalists

Date: Sat, 22 Jul 1995 13:13:13 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Your philosophical bent
X-UIDL: 805309723.000

Professor Negroponte

In my philosophy course, my professor has been talking a lot about libertarianism and communitarianism. Libertarianism, as I'm sure you know, is focused on the individual, with providing him with as much freedom from state control and coercion as possible.

Communitarianism is quite the opposite. It is focused more on society and the responsibilities that individuals have to society. Communitarians would be much more inclined to employ the state to achieve some societal benefit than libertarians would.

I know I've simplified these terms quite a bit, but it might help if I gave some examples. Our professor, John Merrill, considers himself to be a Libertarian. He also places John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill and Albert Camus in this category.

As for Communitarians, Professor Merrill considers their number to include Confucius, Plato, Karl Marx and Martin Buber.

Given these definitions and examples, do you consider yourself to be a Libertarian or a Communitarian? (I understand if you feel like you are a little of both. I've been arguing the entire semester that separating the individual from society -- and society from individuals -- is impossible. But Professor Merrill is convinced that each of us has a leaning toward one camp or the other. Which one do you feel closer to?)

I have an idea of which one you feel closer to, but I want to see if I'm correct.


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