By Julian Culp

This chapter discusses the difficulty of justifying the normative legitimacy of the state’s exercise of political authority in the domain of education and, in particular, in the form of liberal democratic citizenship education. The idea of an actual consent to this exercise seems inappropriate to legitimate the exercise of such an authority. There are two reasons for this: the first is that students are not yet fully autonomous; the second is that the consent of citizens to these practices of liberal democratic citizenship education may appear as engineered to the extent that citizens have gone through a liberal democratic education that has emphasized the importance of a liberal democratic political order and of liberal democratic practices of education. The chapter therefore proposes to rely on a moral justification of the state’s exercise of political authority in the domain of education. This moral justification maintains that all moral persons have a moral duty of respect to justify their individual and collective action vis-à-vis others, and that the state is therefore justified in carrying out forms of liberal democratic education that enable students to discharge this moral duty.

Rome: Armando Editore, 2022