refers to a person who sees the intermediary organizations and associations between the individual and the state as having greater moral importance than the state. This person differs from the communitarian
, however, in that he refuses to value those associations higher than the individual. The term was coined by Arnold Kling
, a George Mason University
economics professor, to clear some ground between Randian libertarians
and those libertarians who do not base their philosophy on selfishness. In his article, Kling writes:
"The stereotypical libertarian might cite Ayn Rand and simply exalt the individual. Instead, a civil societarian would cite Alexis de Tocqueville, and his observation that "Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. These voluntary associations are what a civil societarian sees as the key to civilization.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's theory of the General Will serves as a good contrast to the civil societarian view. See Robert Nisbet and his Quest For Community.
Famous civil societarians include Whole Foods Market's CEO John Mackey.