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Communitarianism and Morality: In Search of the Subject
‘No society can function well’, writes Amitai Etzioni, ‘unless most of its members “behave” most of the time because they voluntarily heed their moral commitments and social responsibilities’.  The importance of strong families, caring neighbours, a flourishing sector of self-help groups, voluntary associations, churches, trade unions and social clubs, as well as a widespread sense of social membership to the healthy functioning of modern societies is now rarely disputed. The civic institutions of the family and neighbourhood are perceived by thinkers on the Right as a precondition for a sustainable welfare state,  and by conservative traditionalists as the foundation for the formation of self-disciplined and dependable personalities.  They are defended by civic conservatives, who recognize that effective free markets rely on and must contribute to strong moral and cultural institutions,  and by ‘ethical philosophers’ who see the principle of duty as the bond of social cohesion that limits the need for a repressive state. 
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