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BONG HiTS 4 CITIZENS: Civic Education & Political Authority
Unformatted Document Text:  18 those rules. 26 The argument can be bolstered and made more clearly democratic by pointing out that, in one’s future as an adult citizen, one will be entitled to participate on equal terms in the ongoing project of (re)making the rules and thereby determining the distribution of benefits that flow from widespread law-abidingness. This motive differs from the first in not making any assumption about the likelihood that the democratic process will generate the right laws; it derives reasons to obey even misguided laws from the demands of equal citizenship. Third, one might teach that social order and coordination are valuable, appealing to children’s (perhaps underdeveloped) prior intuitions of this sort and observing that law- abidingness helps people to make life plans and decisions based on generally accurate predictions about the behavior of others. A fourth motivational strategy would be to appeal more directly and immediately to students’ self-interest by emphasizing the punishments that may be inflicted by the state on those who disobey its rules. Fifth, and last, educators might try to create citizens for whom law-abidingness is habitual as opposed to consciously reasoned. The educational strategy of habituation would initially have to proceed by providing other motives for obedience until the student develops the habit. But children that have been ‘brought up right’ will likely arrive at school with this habit already developed to some extent. Most conceptions of liberal democratic civic education will try to cultivate some combination of these five motives for law- abidingness: only the first two are distinctively liberal democratic, but I suspect that all five have an important role to play in liberal democratic civic education. Each motive 26 See, for example, John Rawls, “Legal Obligation and the Duty of Fair Play” in Law and Philosophy 3 (1964). I do not mean to suggest that this article should be assigned reading in elementary schools!

Authors: MacMullen, Ian.
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18
those rules.
26
The argument can be bolstered and made more clearly democratic by
pointing out that, in one’s future as an adult citizen, one will be entitled to participate on
equal terms in the ongoing project of (re)making the rules and thereby determining the
distribution of benefits that flow from widespread law-abidingness. This motive differs
from the first in not making any assumption about the likelihood that the democratic
process will generate the right laws; it derives reasons to obey even misguided laws from
the demands of equal citizenship.
Third, one might teach that social order and coordination are valuable, appealing to
children’s (perhaps underdeveloped) prior intuitions of this sort and observing that law-
abidingness helps people to make life plans and decisions based on generally accurate
predictions about the behavior of others. A fourth motivational strategy would be to
appeal more directly and immediately to students’ self-interest by emphasizing the
punishments that may be inflicted by the state on those who disobey its rules. Fifth, and
last, educators might try to create citizens for whom law-abidingness is habitual as
opposed to consciously reasoned. The educational strategy of habituation would initially
have to proceed by providing other motives for obedience until the student develops the
habit. But children that have been ‘brought up right’ will likely arrive at school with this
habit already developed to some extent. Most conceptions of liberal democratic civic
education will try to cultivate some combination of these five motives for law-
abidingness: only the first two are distinctively liberal democratic, but I suspect that all
five have an important role to play in liberal democratic civic education. Each motive
26
See, for example, John Rawls, “Legal Obligation and the Duty of Fair Play” in Law and Philosophy 3
(1964). I do not mean to suggest that this article should be assigned reading in elementary schools!


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