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Chapter 14 CIVIL RIGHTS: Where Liberty and Equality Collide Theoretical Focus © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Civil Rights versus Civil Liberties Civil Rights: Promise that government power will be used to ensure that individuals are treated equally and fairly by government and other individuals. Civil Liberties: Restrict and control government power over individuals. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Civil rights vs. Civil liberties Historically, until the Civil War, the two concepts were synonymous with one another. After the ratification of the Civil War Amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th) to the Constitution, the two became paradoxical. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Civil Rights vs. Civil Liberties Civil liberties called for restrictions on governmental intervention to ensure political liberty through individual freedoms (limited government). Civil Rights called for governmental intervention to redress social order inequalities which limited group freedoms (big government). © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Civil Rights vs. Civil Liberties Civil Liberties promote Individual liberty at the expense of Governmental Order like in the Rights of the Accused (e.g., 4th to 8th Amendments); or through the promotion of fundamental freedoms like in the 1st Amendment (i.e., speech, religion, assembly, and press). Civil Rights promote a Free Order at the expense of individual and collective liberties that are seen to restrict freedom when they are exercised (e.g., 14th and 15th Amendments). © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Conclusion With both civil rights and liberties there is a dilemma of scope and depth regarding their application in society. When do we know that we have gone too far or not far enough in the promotion of either. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Conclusion Excessive civil liberty application leads to socio-political or economic anarchy as individual rights overtake collective duties leading to excessive individualism. Likewise, uncontrolled application of civil rights leads to a “tyranny of the minority” with an altered socio-political or economic order where collective rights are exercised at the expense of individual duties as in leading to an equality of outcome over opportunity. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
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