In this article I shall show that equal respect is the only principle shared by all main alternative justifications for liberal-democratic legitimacy. By developing equal respect as the grounds for liberal legitimacy, I defend political liberalism from the criticism of being a political order appealing only to those who are already liberals. The reason to support liberal principles and democratic institutions is thus a moral principle, not simply the pragmatic need to find consensus. Moreover, such a principle is shared in so far as the lack of respect constitutes the implicit or explicit criticism that all contestants raise against alternative political views.

Keywords: respect, toleration, democrati, legitimacy, political liberalism