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This article focuses on the function of human rights as a foreign policy ideal in American foreign policy, particularly since the end of the Cold War. China became a challenging target of U.S. human rights policy after Tiananmen. Human rights as an ideal may be defended either by idealist or by realist means. Whereas the former are logically consistent with the ends, only the latter promises immediate results. The Clinton administration thus began with an attempt to manipulate trade policy to pressure China into improving its human rights policies. The administration then shifted to idealist means more consistent with idealist ends, including the resort to international organization sanctions. But here Washington failed even more conspicuously. The article concludes that human rights did not turn out to be a politically suitable ideal to orient U.S. foreign policy. The impact on China was fierce resentment. But human rights have improved.
This article discusses the democratic side of Locke's political thought, which is generally not appreciated. How is it that Lockean constitutionalism is also “popular government,” institutions, that is, but institutions considerably informed by a democratic spirit? The answer involves Locke's three characteristic innovations in institution-planning: “civil” government, a supreme “legislative” power coupled with a responsible executive, and, inter alia, a vigilant “majority”—a party or movement of the people with authority to elect to government and to rebel against any non-popular government. While Locke does raise up a powerful executive, he also makes it dependent as a rule on a rather democratic legislative. What Locke wishes to induce over time is something like parliamentary government, with the executive vested in a cabinet and the whole more or less responsible to the people in his sense, especially to a majority.
To what extent are liberal democracies democratic? That question guides this reconsideration of the first and fundamental plan for liberal government, that of John Locke. I shall argue that Locke's plans are more democratic, and more radical too, than is generally believed. True, important parts of Locke's teaching correspond to undemocratic features with which we are now quite familiar. Liberal democracies have more or less capitalist economies in which wealth and big corporations are protected, they are moved not only by public opinion but also by liberal opinion-leaders of one stripe or another, they are governed not by the people in assembly but by constitutional governments.
Do employees possess a moral right to democratic voice at work? In A Preface To Economic Democracy and other writings over the past two decades, Robert Dahl has developed a neo-Kantian proof for the existence of such a right. Even if we accept the norm of distributive justice upon which Dahl founds his proof, voluntary subjection to authoritarian power in firms does not violate the legitimate entitlements of employees. While adult residents of territorial associations do possess a moral right to political equality, polities and firms are qualitatively different types of associations in which the entitlements of subjects are distinct. Subjection to power is acquired in different ways in the two kinds of associations, and this difference deprives employees—but not residents—of a right to democratic voice as a matter of moral desert.
Throughout his career, Robert Dahl has been troubled by the different ways in which those who govern polities and firms are chosen in modern society. While democracy is the norm in the state, at least in the advanced industrial nations, authoritarianism prevails in the economy. Most employees are subject to managers they did not elect and to rules in which they had little or no say. They are subordinates, a role manifestly at odds with the ideal of the democratic citizen. Given the “contradictions between our commitment to the democratic ideal and the theory and practice of hierarchy in our daily lives,”
Historically many political theorists have closely associated the practice of politics with the disposition of courage. During the past two centuries or so, however, some theorists—particularly liberals—have striven to tame the concept of politics, emphasizing the importance of gentler qualities such as toleration, civility, compassion, and reasonableness over the more bellicose quality of courage. But liberals are far from unanimous on this point. Judith Shklar, for instance, is more ambivalent about courage, recognizing both the continued relevance of moral courage for liberalism's long, difficult struggle against cruelty and fear and, at the same time, acknowledging the dangers of endowing the concept of politics with a heroic quality. Taking Shklar's ambivalence as a starting place, this article explores the current relevance of courage for politics.
Among environmentalists today, there is a widespread opposition to the “Enlightenment project.” Deep ecologists, in particular, aspire to ground environmental ethics and politics in premodern modes of life and thought. This move fails to account for the myriad important connections between Enlightenment themes and those of contemporary ecophilosophy. Notions of a public sphere, cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, and deep time, as well as new approaches to the self and doubts about the market, persist from the Enlightenment into current environmental theory and practice. The essay warns against severing environmentalism from its Enlightenment antecedents and urges instead an ethic drawn from the revered nature writer and ecologist Aldo Leopold, who was profoundly indebted to Enlightenment ideals.
In recent years a rift has opened up between some currents of environmental philosophy and the legacy of the Enlightenment. Prominent eco-philosophers have blamed the latter for our contemporary environmental crisis. William Ophuls, for example, describes the Enlightenment as a desperate attempt to defy the ecological implications of the laws of thermodynamics by erecting a political order based on untrammeled growth rather than selflimiting virtue. One of the reviewers of Ophuls's book regards this indictment as “old news”; he criticizes Ophuls, in fact, for clinging to the Enlightenment paradigm in seeking to derive environmental ethics from natural laws. It would be fair to say that many, if not most, green intellectuals have come to define their enterprise as a counter-Enlightenment.
For all of his well-known advocacy of “liberty”, Tocqueville might nevertheless be thought to have neglected a serious account of American liberties in Democracy in America. Yet there is a relatively systematic analysis of democratic liberties to be found in his study of the unprecedented openness which the regime of popular sovereignty provided for political parties, the press, and associations. In his comments on these components of democratic life, Tocqueville develops an evaluation of the political and psychological effects that he saw arising from them, and argues for the special priority he thought should be given to the liberty of association. His argument is among the earliest attempt to explore the actual practices, as distinguished from the theory, of modern liberty, and to examine the limits of democracy's emancipatory promise.
The disagreements between Professor Mayer and me turn to some extent on legitimate differences in interpreting and understanding my intentions and text, and to a larger extent on differences in the ways we interpret and understand certain important economic and political aspects of the world in which we live.
I believe my argument is more consequentialist than he understands it to be. The question is: consequences for what ends, goals, or values? Simplifying my discussion somewhat. I was concerned with three general types of consequences: consequences for economic effectiveness, for property rights, and for rights to a democratic process.
As to property rights, though I expressed skepticism about applying the standard moral argument for property rights to business firms, my preferred solution, as Professor Mayer points out, does not entail a violation of basic rights to property, or, for that matter, existing property rights in business firms. It could simply“entail a shift ownership from stockholders to employees”(p. 113).
As to economic effectiveness, I argued that employee-owned firms could be as effective in achieving such intermediate goods as investment, growth, and employment (p.120ff.). I argued further that they could be as efficient as American corporations at present in minimizing“the ratio of valued inputs to valued outputs”both in the narrow sense ordinarily employed by economists, for whom the outputs are those valued by consumers, and in a broader sense that would include outputs“we as producers value”(p. 130).
Some Thoughts Concerning Education, Locke's treatise on education, has yet to be fully integrated with his more familiar political and philosophical works. On the surface, there seems to be some tension between Locke's advice on how best to educate the young, and his prescriptions for political legitimacy. The emphasis on consent in the Second Treatise of Government seems to require a parallel emphasis on freedom of thought, but it is the possibility of precisely this sort of freedom that Locke calls into question with a theory of education grounded in the external inculcation of mental habits that control behavior throughout life. This surface tension, however, is dispelled by Locke's theory of knowledge, as it is expressed in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding. The Essay's skepticism with regard to an objective and public knowledge makes clear, first, that education is reducible to indoctrination, and second, that liberty therefore requires the rejection or fundamental reconstitution of what has been learned.
Exchanges of this sort typically consist of each side claiming the other has misunderstood its own position. Keeping to this tradition, I will begin by arguing that Professor Dahl has misconstrued my critique of his proof. But toward the end I will do something different and suggest another argument advocates of workplace democracy could pursue that avoids the pitfalls of the parallel case.
In his reply Professor Dahl ascribes to me a libertarian position which I explicitly reject. He says that I view consent to authoritarian rule at work as a freely made choice involving absolutely no coercion. But, Professor Dahl counters, this assumption is obviously false for most workers in our economy, who find themselves in a weak bargaining position for want of capital or valuable skills. They are not in a position to negotiate political equality at work, and so we cannot interpret their submission to employers as a valid act of consent. In my terminology, their subjection option is hollow and thus irrelevant to the parallel case upon which the proof rests. As Professor Dahl sees it, I am a kind of uncompassionate conservative, enjoying a privileged occupational life but unconcerned about the plight of those less fortunate than myself.
But Professor Dahl can only arrive at this conclusion by ignoring the fourth section of my paper, on the exploitation objection. There I go even farther than he does in granting the hollowness of the subjection option.
This essay examines the liberal distinction between public and private spheres by analyzing civil and conjugal society in the work of John Locke and John Milton. Although the two authors explain the institution of civil government similarly, suggesting similar conceptions of liberal life, my explication of their views on marriage shows that they conceive of public and private quite differently. Marriage for Locke is a contract, the primary term of which is procreative sex. Because contracts are enforced by civil authorities, the apparently private conjugal society is subject to civil rule. In contrast, the purpose of marriage for Milton is comfort and companionship, which can only be known by those directly involved, which means that civil government cannot interfere. In marriage, one retains a natural domestic liberty and remains judge in one's own case. Exposing these variants of the publicprivate division, the article explains the differences in Locke's and Milton's liberalisms and suggests that neither acceptably encompasses intimate relationships.
This article looks at Kant's attitude to political change by examining closely the contrast he draws between palingenesis and metamorphosis in his doctrine of right (1797). The article attempts to explain why Kant prefers the use of metamorphosis as an analogy and looks closely at his objections to the use of palingenesis. Here Kant's treatment of palingenesis is compared with the use of the term made by the eighteenth-century Genevan biologist Charles Bonnet. It is suggested that Kant's rejection of rebellion and revolution is connected to his advocacy of gradual, organic change as conveyed in the notion of metamorphosis. This notion is explored according to eighteenth-century and present scientific understandings of the term. The conclusion stresses the merits of Kant's approach to political change, and indicates why it might be superior to the conservative and revolutionary alternatives.
What moderns call technology is requisite to liberal democracy, for without the increase of wealth, knowledge, and opportunity that technology provides, the ruling majority could not be an enlightened middle class. Nevertheless, critics point to advancing technology's harmful side, with some hoping to prevent these harms by tight controls and others despairing that technology lies beyond our control. In a neglected 1858–59 lecture and related speeches, Abraham Lincoln wrestled with these issues and their implications for democratic statecraft. Although convinced that “discoveries and inventions” had rescued humankind from savage beginnings, produced abundance, and put genuine democracy within reach, Lincoln recognized that advancing technology alone would not guarantee freedom, but might bring new forms of mastery. Lincolnian statecraft seeks to moderate or limit this advance not through stringent controls, but by a moral teaching that builds on the natural right to oneself and includes a comprehensive doctrine of labor.
Recent scholars have sought to reexamine the influence of religion on American political thought and practice. Contrary to the Progressives, who found the American tradition wholly secular, these scholars argue that the American Founders accepted the principle that liberal political institutions require the active presence and participation of religious groups in society for their success. The Founders agreed with the communitarian writers beginning with Alexis de Tocqueville who criticized the alienation and weakness of modern individualism. There is a renewed interest in the study of literature as a mode of social analysis and theoretical speculation. The realist writer William Dean Howells (1837–1920) is widely regarded as a remarkably accurate observer of American mores. The conflict between Christianity and liberal individualism figures prominently in his work. Howells's novels offer a series of informed reflections on the once central dialogue between religion and liberalism in American life.
Drawing on Douglas-Wildavsky grid-group theory, the article shows how changing social circumstances prompt distinctive patterns of shifting cultural allegiance and intercultural coalitions which in turn distinguish three lengthy eras of American political development. The resulting portrayal of American political development is more complex than the oscillation between two poles depicted by Hirschman as well as McClosky and Zaller, for the characterization employed has three poles in two dimensions. But this more complex portrayal better explains the changing character of American political life across eras. The conclusion focuses on what I regard as the two most significant implications of this view, showing that: (1) contrary to widespread opinion, the most recent era of political development affords egalitarians an insecure position on the American political stage, and (2) this conception of political change reveals deeper insights about political life by distinguishing rival, culturally constrained rationalities.
In recent years it has become increasingly common to speak of the international or global common good. It remains unclear, however, what political content attaches to this expression, and how it relates to more traditional conceptions of the common good rooted in the context of the polis or the nation-state. This article examines the ramifications of extending this time-honored concept to a transnational framework, focusing in particular on the evolving rhetoric of the political common good in Catholic social thought. The first part traces the emergence of the transnational common good in Catholic thinkers such as Maritain, Murray, and Messner, as well as in the encyclical tradition. The second part addresses, from the standpoint of political theory, problems of scope, structure, and application attending the expansion of the common good. The concluding section proposes a multilayered, heuristic interpretation of the common good organized around the notion of a “plurality of pluralisms.”
When one speaks of the common good, it always makes sense to inquire: The common good of whom? How the common good is demarcated is a matter of no small moment for any claims that are made in its name. name. For these claims stumble as soon as it becomes clear that the good referred to is in fact shared by only some members of the assumed collectivity and not the rest; and they likewise falter if they are revealed to rest on an inappropriate delimitation of the collectivity at the expense of others who, for the purposes at hand, should rightfully be included.
The article identifies and analyzes the most important consequences of non-white post-World War Two immigration for contemporary British politics. The central argument is that postwar immigration has gradually altered the course of British politics along three major dimensions. First, the demographic pattern of postwar immigration during its earliest phase or “first wave” severely and indefinitely constrained the ability of British policymakers to utilize foreign labor to rectify periodic manpower shortages and other structural impediments to economic growth. Second, the permanent settlement of a significant number of non-white immigrants facilitated the success of a political project that redefined the role of the British state in the economy and society. And finally, postwar immigration and its social aftermath altered the representational foundations of Britain's political party system by engendering greater ideological competition between political parties and creating policy distance between them with regard to issues that are especially pertinent to Britain's growing ethnic minority population.
Nietzsche's concept of the higher man is often seen as vague. The article adds concreteness to the concept by studying an example of a higher man, Napoleon. Napoleon embodied power and spiritual health, and was therefore an admirable person. By looking at Nietzsche's description of Napoleon as an artist, we also gain insight into the higher man as a political actor: he uses the public arena as the medium on which he practices his art. In doing so, he presents himself as a exemplar of humanity, inspiring others to seek their own path to excellence. By studying this, we gain important insight into Nietzsche's political teaching. But Nietzsche's account of Napoleon is not one-sided: he also describes Napoleon's corruption. The fall of a higher man is both a warning of the dangers of the political realm, and a reminder that sickness and health are closely connected. Even the mightiest individual is fragile.
Liberal political thought has fractured into “classical” and “modern” camps. This division is rooted in differing reactions to the rise of capitalism and democracy, which are institutional outgrowths of liberal principles, unanticipated by its seminal thinkers. Both “classical” and “modern” liberalism are led astray by classifying liberal democracy as a kind of state. But democracies are not states; they are selforganizing systems. When the nature of this error is grasped, a more coherent liberal vision emerges, where the key tension in liberal society is between selforganizing systems and instrumental organizations. Possibilities in public policy take on new dimensions as well.
The world we know is largely the institutional outcome of liberalism's political triumph, first in the West and increasingly worldwide. Yet today liberal thought is deeply divided against itself and, in this division, often unable to comprehend a world in many ways its product. This division grows primarily from tensions between two liberal institutions: liberal, or representative, democracy and the market, and also from the near universal failure of liberals to grasp democratic government's unusual systemic character. Tensions between liberal democracy and the market are central issues, whereas the character of democratic government receives far less attention. Yet how the first issue is evaluated depends in part on understanding the last. Liberalism has strengthened the intellectual, legal, economic and political status of individuals within society, emphasizing equality of status for all people.
In his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Spinoza attempts to establish a Scriptural basis for liberal democracy by showing that the Gospels, when understood correctly, assert the need for freedom, toleration, and equality. He does so by reducing prophecy to the imaginative expression of prejudice and superstition and then by confining such imaginings to the Hebrew Bible. Spinoza then contrasts the primitive Hebrew prophets, particularly Moses, with an idealized portrait of Jesus, whom he presents as a philosopher, free of prejudice and superstition. Moses was concerned with legislating for a particular regime, while Jesus, according to Spinoza was concerned primarily with salvation. Spinoza thereby exposes the political implications of Jesus' teaching. The injunction that we should obey God rather than man requires freedom and toleration, a condition that can be best guaranteed by a free and democratic regime.
Students of Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (TTP) are often struck by the fact that although the work portrays Christianity more favorably than Judaism, Spinoza devotes far more time to an examination of the Hebrew Bible than the New Testament. Nowhere is this paradox more evident than in Spinoza's comparison of Moses, the greatest prophet in the Hebrew Bible, with Jesus, the most revered figure in the New Testament. Although Spinoza lavishly praises Jesus, insisting that Jesus had achieved more intimate apprehension of God, he devotes far more analysis to Moses. By asserting the superiority of Jesus, Spinoza clearly hoped to appeal to his largely Christian audience.
We probe the connections linking the market, speech, and sympathy in the work of Adam Smith, stressing how individuals strive for social esteem and ethical credit while competing in markets. We demonstrate how Smith approached speech and rhetoric as constituting attributes of markets, the modern analogue of previous institutional foundations for social order. Thus, markets are not simply, or exclusively, arenas for the instrumental quest by competitive and strategic individuals to secure their material preferences. They are a central mechanism for social integration derived not from strategic self-interest but from the inexorable struggle by human agents for moral approbation. Part One retranslates the master concept of Moral Sentiments into a modern theory of recognition. Part Two considers how Smith, in his Rhetoric, established the mutual constitution of recognition and speech. Part Three carries this understanding to his Jurisprudence, the most integrative of his texts, which relocates these impulses inside the market itself.
The pivotal second chapter of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, “Of the Principle which gives occasion to the Division of Labour, ” opens with the oft-cited claim that the foundation of modern political economy is the human “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.” This formulation plays both an analytical and normative role. It offers an anthropological microfoundation for Smith's understanding of how modern commercial societies function as social organizations, which, in turn, provide a venue for the expression and operation of these human proclivities.