In this paper, I identify six arguments for differentiated political communities: three closely related, albeit distinct, justice-based arguments, two consequentialist arguments, and one argument specifically about the drawing of political boundaries but which is derivative on the value that political arrangements are intended to promote. The arguments examined are: (1) individual autonomy; (2) conditions of autonomy; (3) structural injustice; (4) fear of tyranny; (5) fear of fragmentation; and (6) subsidiarity. All the arguments discussed below are consistent with a commitment to moral cosmopolitanism, understood in terms of the claim that all persons qua persons have equal moral worth.7 They all appeal to universal moral goods that have to be weighed in an overall theory of (global and domestic) institutional design. They are relevant to the issue of the justifiability of differentiated political communities, and hence political borders, and four of the six arguments have implications for the related issue of where the borders should be drawn.In one of the more relevant passages (to the current resolution, at least), Moore defends sovereignty as grounding autonomy.
A closely related but more persuasive argument for political jurisdictions focuses on the connection between political authority, culture, and a rich understanding of the conditions for the exercise of personal autonomy. The most influential versions of this argument are developed in relation to the protection of minority groups, but, because this argument rests on a particular account of the relationship of jurisdictional authority to the protection of group culture (not specifically minority group culture), it is best understood as an argument about the appropriate and justified relationship between jurisdictional authority and cultural group identity.In a cosmopolitan suprastate--the likely outcome of a United Nations bent on valuing rights over sovereignty--minority groups and their cultures and languages vanish. Sovereignty preserves diversity and respects autonomy.
The most influential contemporary version of this argument involves essentially three claims: the first move in the argument attempts to establish a link between the collective good of culture and the exercise of personal autonomy; the second relates the good of culture to mechanisms for protection, especially the capacity to make collective decisions about culture; and the third is an equality claim, which is typically applied to minorities for the protection of their culture.