Connecticut Law Review Volume 44 – Issue 5

Republican Virtue and Expert Discourse: A Response to Professor Rana

In this Article, the authors note their agreement with Professor Rana’s historical analysis of a major change in national security discourse and elaborate on their disagreement with his account of the theoretical underpinnings of this transition.  They locate their difference on the line between liberal and republican theory, arguing that the historical shift is from democratic republicanism to aristocratic republicanism and not, as Rana suggests, between Lockean liberalism and Hobbesean authoritarianism.  After establishing this theoretical framework, the authors draw out some of the implications of their account.  They emphasize the role of practical reasoning, explore the differences in how aristocratic and democratic thinkers reason about national security decisions, and highlight the worrying tendency of the present Court to emphasize aristocratic reasoning without the traditional republican concerns about systemic corruption.

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