Is anyone special? This all-encompassing question strikes at the heart of whether certain minority groups should be awarded their own specific rights. The answer to this question considers the important liberal principles of equality and freedom (Kymlicka 345). At its simplest form, there could be equal rights for all, or rights that make everyone equal. To answer this question, I will show that the idea of nation-building has been permitted to deviate from benign neglect for the instrumental purpose of bringing about some goals of a liberal democratic state: solidarity, trust, and deliberative democracy, and that in doing so, it harms another liberal democratic goal: equality of opportunity. I argue that since this deviation is
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These rights and liberties include, but are not limited to, “the right to speak and worship freely, the right to run for public office, the right to own property” (Ball and Dagger 39). Moreover, some goals of liberal democracies include, “equality of opportunity, solidarity, trust, and deliberative democracy” (Kymlicka 347). It is clear then that there is a link between multiculturalism and liberal democracy. Multiculturalism, the rejection of exclusion, marginalization, silencing, or assimilation for minority groups, supports the rights, liberties and most importantly for this argument, the equality offered in a liberal democracy.
Thus, to justify group-specific rights, they must be related to the goals of liberal democracy. If certain minority groups are marginalized, and not provided the same number or quality of life opportunities – educational, political, and economic – then perhaps these can be remedied by assigning them group-specific rights that allow them to increase the number or quality of their life opportunities. Group-specific rights, by definition, are a multicultural policy. Thus, remedying marginalization and preserving multiculturalism by providing group-specific rights is instrumental in reaching the liberal democratic goal of equality opportunity, or equal access for all.
To begin, it is important to understand why group-specific rights are