When I was invited to blog in this network, I decided to write on topics connected with the relation between democracy and international law, which is, currently, one of my main areas of interest. My intuition is that democracy is the only legitimate political authority - not in a sociological sense, but in a normative, moral sense: for me, there are no good arguments to justify authority besides democracy. Then, considering that our international order is essentially undemocratic, we must acknowledge we have a problem - a huge problem. Phillip Allott explains it this way:

"It is as if the external life of our societies were still a reflection of the internal life of centuries ago, a fitful struggle among Teutonic knights or European barons or Chinese feudal lords or Japanese shoguns. It is as if Thomas Hobbes were the world’s only social philosopher. It is as if there had never been Locke and Rousseau and Kant and Hegel and Marx, let alone Plato and Aristotle and Lao Tzu and Confucius. It is as if the revolutions had never occurred – 1789 and 1917 and all the other dramatic and undramatic social revolutions." (P. Allott, The Health of Nations: Society and Law Beyond the State (2002) 409).

Certainly, "global ethics" do have a role in this quest for democracy, particularly if we defend a strong notion of democracy -a "deliberative democracy"-, as I pretend to do. This kind conception of democracy is based on the Habermasian assumption that “when encountering the values, beliefs and arguments of others, the reflective citizen is assumed to extend beyond personal interests and recognize that what is good for the individual is not necessarily good for the social collective” (J. Khan & E. Lövbrand, The deliberative turn in green political theory, in K. Bäckstrand, J. Khan, A. Kronsell & E. Lövbrand (Eds.), Environmental Politics And Deliberative Democracy 52 (2010)).

In order for the reflective citizen to effectively extend beyond her personal interests, there must exist a certain degree of solidarity between the different members of the global society. In this blog, I would like to explore the foundations of that solidarity, in order to reflect on the possibilities of success of proposals to democratize international law.

 

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Tags: democracy, ethics, history, politics, religion, revolution

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