The extreme paradox of liberal democracy

Liberal Democracy and the Paradox of Nietzsche: A Comparative Analysis Image by Grady Pearson Essay completed 24 November It is peculiar to think that Friedrich Nietzsche, perhaps the most influential thinker of the present age, held such contempt for liberal democracy, the leading political ideology of the postmodern world.

The extreme paradox of liberal democracy

Costas Douzinas 8 August Human rights are a hybrid of liberal law, morality and politics. Their ideological power lies The extreme paradox of liberal democracy their ambiguity, not in their adherence to liberal values of individual freedom. They unite the North and the South, the Church and the State, first world liberals and third world revolutionaries.

Human rights are used as a symbol for liberalism, capitalism or individualism by some and for development, social justice or peace by others. In the South, rights are seen as primarily collective rather than individual, social and economic rather than civil, associated with equality rather than liberty.

Does the victory and ubiquity of rights indicate that they transcend conflicts of interests and the clash of ideas?

The extreme paradox of liberal democracy

Have rights become a common horizon uniting Cardiff and Kabul, London and Lahore? It is a comforting idea, daily denied in news bulletins. The absence of appeals to human rights gives us the opportunity to revisit their theoretical and political premises.

Legal rights have been the building block of western law since early modernity modelled on the right to property, the first and still most significant right. As human, rights introduce a type of morality in the way public and now private powers should treat people.

The legitimacy of modern law was based on its claim to be ideologically neutral, beyond morality, ideology and politics.

The proliferation of human rights marks the realisation that state law could be bent to the most atrocious policies.

Human rights are therefore a hybrid category of liberal law and morality. But as morality is not one and the law is not a simple exercise in reasoning, moral conflict enters the legal archive and legal strictures regiment moral responsibility.

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As a result a number of paradoxes enter the heart of society by bringing together law and morality. Let me offer five theses developing some of the paradoxes.

Human rights classify people on a spectrum between the fully human, the lesser human and the inhuman. If that were the case, refugees, undocumented immigrants, the Guatanamo Bay prisoners who have no state or law to protect them should be prime beneficiaries of the consolations of humanity.

They have very few. Humanity has no fixed or universally acceptable meaning and cannot act as the source of moral or legal rules. Human rights help construct who and how one becomes human.

Power and morality, sovereignty and rights are not fatal enemies as is often argued. Instead a historically specific amalgam of sovereignty and morality forms the structuring order of each epoch and society.

Natural rights, the early modern predecessor of human rights, were a necessary companion of the nation-state and nationalism. But the aftermath of the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions shows that the spread of democracy and human rights was a flimsy smokescreen. In advanced Western societies, human rights de-politicise politics.

I do not refer here to traditional civil liberties and the limited protections the underprivileged, the oppressed and the poor still claim and rarely get. This is the core case of civil liberties.

The problem lies elsewhere: For the defenders of free market individualism, rights are playthings of the middle class. As Labour and the Tories move to the ideological centre, conflict was declared finished. The emphasis on the rights of property owners and consumers pursues the same agenda.

It gives the impression that rich bankers and the unemployed or the privacy of the middle class and the basic dignity of the unemployed belong to the same register. Antagonism is the reality of politics and social justice its aim.

Rights as individual entitlements cannot tackle inequality nor are they synonymous with justice. Formal rights are silent as regards the preconditions for their exercise. In this sense, the politics of rights is always in potential conflict with their legal status.

Human rights statements are prescriptions:Democracy and the Paradox of Zimbabwe: Lessons from Traditional Systems of Governance by Munamato Chemhuru, M.A.

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[email protected] Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Human rights are a hybrid of liberal law, morality and politics. Human rights and the paradoxes of liberalism.

Is the problem fake news or fake democracy? What media, what political. For additional publications in print only, see my CV (not recently updated) Translations of Hoppe Publications Hoppe Audio & Video Selected Topics A se.

Rousseau: Social Contract: Book III

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to democracy, so that liberal pragmatist theorists and neo-Marxist radical theorists may better understand the other view, and thereby better grip what is at stake in liberalism, in radicalism, and in democracy itself.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill KG OM CH TD FRS PC (November 30, – January 24, ) was a British politician and statesman, best known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II.

He was Prime Minister of the UK from to and again from to He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in See also: The Second World War (book series).

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