Feb 17, 2007

Habermas and the LD UN resolution

In a post that accidentally pertains to the current LD resolution, neighbor Helmut recycles a quotation by J├╝rgen Habermas.
The universal validity claim which binds the West to its 'basic political values,' that is, to the procedure of democratic self-determination and the vocabulary of human rights, must not be confused with the imperialist claim that the political form of life and the culture of a particular democracy - even the oldest one - is exemplary for all societies...

It was precisely American pragmatism that made insight into what is in each case equally good for all parties contingent on reciprocal perspective taking. The 'reason' of modern rational natural law is not instantiated by universal 'values' that one can own like goods, and distribute and export throughout the world. 'Values' - including those that can count on winning global recognition - do not float in mid-air, but acquire binding force only within the normative orders and practices of particular cultural forms of life.
Only through "reciprocal perspective taking" can the various actors on the world stage avoid repackaging particularist aims as universal goods. Habermas' latter observation (both are found in The Divided West) illuminates a line of argument that the Neg might consider: that the commodification of values and destruction of national sovereignty threatens diversity.

Habermas, however, argues that a "federal" form of world sovereignty (patterned after the United States' divided system) would preclude many fears of cultural homogenization, fears largely initiated by Immanuel Kant:
Kant's concern that in a highly complex world society general laws could only be enforced at the cost of a "soulless despotism" prefigures something akin to Foucault's fear of "normalization." Kant fears that a world republic, notwithstanding its federal structure, would inevitably lead to social and cultural uniformity. Behind this fear lurks the objection that a global state of nations would develop an inherent, irresistible tendency to degenerate into a "universal monarchy" for sheer functional reasons. Kant seems to be concerned that the alternative to the existing system of belligerent sovereign states would be the global domination of a single world power.
Kant's idea of a "league of nations," where none surrenders its sovereignty, mirrors the initial conceptions of the pre-Kofi Annan UN.

No comments: