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Is globalization of constitutional law inevitable?

Yes, says Mark Tushnet, in this interesting essay, and see his Opinio Juris posts here and here. By globalization of constitutional law, he means "convergence among national constitutional systems in their structures and in their protection of fundamental human rights" but short of uniformity and with no claims about the rate of convergence (could take one year or one thousand years). I find this idea much more puzzling than Tushnet or his commentators do. Consider --

1. The argument resembles the "end of history" argument made famous by Francis Fukuyama. Fukuyama argued that the collapse of communist systems from 1989 to 1991 made clear the (eventual…) ultimate domination of liberal market-based democracy around the world. Fukuyama's argument looks less good today, what with the rise and rise of authoritarian China, the recovery of authoritarian Russia, the spread of Islamist thought, and the resurgence of socialism or whatever it is in places like Venezuela. But this is the question: is Tushnet's thesis just a version of Fukuyama, or is he saying something different?

2. Fukuyama had a specific mechanism in mind: he argued that technology develops unidirectionally. The ancient Greeks were wrong to think that history moves in cycles; history moves in a straight line because of the accumulation of knowledge. The connection between technological advance and liberal democracy was the weak link in his argument; technology serves China very well. Does Tushnet adopt this mechanism or does he have something else in mind?

3. Tushnet does discuss mechanisms, different ones. One is the idea that judges meet each other at Alpine conferences and exchange ideas. Why judges? Judges played no role in the collapse of communism, which was the key moment for modern convergence. Nor did they play a role in the collapse of authoritarian systems in the 1970s, or for that matter in the collapse of fascism. Why should we think they play an important role in constitutional convergence in general? In our country, of course, they change the constitution on what seems like a day-to-day basis. But outside crazy United States, the main agents for constitutional change are not judges but legislatures. Well, of course, legislators meet their counterparts in the Alps and elsewhere, and no doubt exchange ideas. Suddenly, this idea of people influencing each other gets less exciting. Government officials and others have always met with each other and paid attention to what is going on in other countries, and often self-consciously imitated what is going on in other countries. Think of the Japanese during the Meiji Restoration sending out delegations to learn what works and what doesn't work in the west. Is Tushnet's claim that constitutions have been converging since the beginning of the state system? Or that it is a post World War II (or post cold war) phenomenon? What has changed exactly?

4. Tushnet discusses another mechanism. States compete for capital. Investors will send capital to states with better institutions, all else equal. Thus, states have an incentive to improve their institutions toward some optimum; hence, convergence. But must there be only one optimal set of institutions? Perhaps, there are multiple equally good sets of institutions. How do we know?

5. So states have been imitating each other for centuries, and they have also competed for capital and migrants and trade and resources and much else. So if Tushnet's mechanisms are accurate, we should have observed convergence taking place long ago, with one state stumbling upon whatever works best through experimentation and then other states copying the first state. And yet—states seem to be getting different all the time. Surely, there was divergence from, say, 1900 to 1930. And are we so sure that divergence is not occurring even today? Consider the way that European countries have modified their constitutions so as to yield authority to European institutions. This activity has perhaps caused European constitutions to converge, but to diverge with respect to non-European constitutions, which do no such thing.

6. Convergence then seems like such an obvious phenomenon; the puzzle is why states didn't converge long ago, and why they often seem to diverge. What accounts for the rise of socialism, and all the constitutional changes it wrought? What accounts for the rise of Islamist thought—witness the constitutional changes it brought to Iran. These are big questions that swallow up the constitutional convergence thesis. Even as states imitate each other and compete for capital and converge, people living in those states are saying, "We don't like this one bit!" They conduct a coup or a revolution or some such thing, put into place a new model that others like, and divergence is on its way. Does Tushnet really think that this can no longer happen? And that is why constitutional convergence is now (or has always been?) inevitable?

Tracy Johnson (www):
I'm sure the 'globalization' hubris of today's commentators will fall on deaf ears when we're cooking rat meat in our caves. The Greek 'cyclic' theory will reign supreme!
6.11.2009 4:54pm
Joe T. Guest:
Seems to me that mirandizing terrorists captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan is a pretty good start. I just hope those U.S. troops have warrants before they kick the doors in, and only use proportional force when they are calling fire. Otherwise, they'll face the Citizens' Review Board, for sure...
6.11.2009 4:57pm
Anderson (mail):
Fukuyama’s argument looks less good today, what with the rise and rise of authoritarian China, the recovery of authoritarian Russia, the spread of Islamist thought, and the resurgence of socialism or whatever it is in places like Venezuela.

I don't think this is fair to Fukuyama's book. IIRC, he argues that liberal market democracy is "the end of history" in that it faces no competing vision, merely reactionaries and tyrants. I am skeptical that there's any Chinese or Islamist rival that has, or will have, any degree of popular support. China &Russia in particular have regimes that rely heavily on nationalism pure &simple.
6.11.2009 5:00pm
Joe T. Guest:
And no, it's not snark. I'm just wondering how the S.Ct. is going to conjure out of thin air a new line of Constitutional demarcation determining exactly when an EPW has a constitutional right to the protections of the 4th - 8th Amendments. Going to be tough 'splainin' for a prosecutor trying to get evidence into an Article 3 court when the evidence was produced by a search of a house based on tactical intel (Was it compliant with Kyllo? Did they have a warrant? Was the host-nation's tipoff produced by torture or coercive questioning, in the absence of an attorney?)

Oh, what they heck. They're 7, 7.5 wise old lawyers. I'm sure they'll come up with a practical solution that doesn't cause our troops mind-bending hassles... Lawyers, the solution to, and cause of, all of life's problems...
6.11.2009 5:02pm
Dan28 (mail):

1. The argument resembles the “end of history” argument made famous by Francis Fukuyama. Fukuyama argued that the collapse of communist systems from 1989 to 1991 made clear the (eventual…) ultimate domination of liberal market-based democracy around the world. Fukuyama’s argument looks less good today, what with the rise and rise of authoritarian China, the recovery of authoritarian Russia, the spread of Islamist thought, and the resurgence of socialism or whatever it is in places like Venezuela. But this is the question: is Tushnet’s thesis just a version of Fukuyama, or is he saying something different?

I don't think any of those arguments weaken Fukuyama's point. As China rises, they are facing increasing pressure to democratize. China's pathetic and mostly ineffective internet censorship is a perfect symbol of this - a weak dam in front of the tidal wave that is the changes coming to China because of technology. Islamism spreads in areas left behind by globalization and technology - not only poor Islamic countries, but even within those poor Islamic countries Islamism is the ideology of the rural, the poor and the uneducated. As globalization spread, it stands to reason that they will become less and less popular and relevant. Venezuela and Russia are, similarly, poor countries with ideologies of limited appeal.

Fukuyama's argument is not that every country in the world is on a perfectly linear path to secular democracy, which is how his ideas are usually presented by people who disagree with him.
6.11.2009 5:04pm
M (mail):
outside crazy United States, the main agents for constitutional change are not judges but legislatures

This is right to a degree, but we shouldn't ignore the way that the European Court of Justice had extended EU law, giving it direct effect, for example, in many ways that those drafting the law arguably didn't expect, and has been an important, perhaps even prime, mover on the integration of Europe. Something similar, though so far to a lesser degree, exists with the European Court of Human Rights, which has issued important rulings limiting the power of party states in ways they also arguably didn't expect. I don't know that I'd say that either ECJ or the ECHR are the "main" agents of constitutional change in their respective areas, but they are certainly very important ones.
6.11.2009 5:11pm
[insert here] delenda est:
I saw this on OJ and I certainly shared Eric's immediate skepticism. Three issues in particular leapt out at me.

Comparative advantage: ie, even if country X offers the best constitutional investment framework, it may still be profitable in invest in country Y despite its inferior institutions, along the lines of the comparative advantage theory, because, in more practical terms, the activities most sensitive to constitutional framework (media, for example) will be focused in X. X will then efficiently generate a surplus of the most constitutional framework-sensitive goods and trade its surplus for even slightly less constitutional framework-sensitive goods from Y (eg perhaps agriculture or labor-intensive manufacturing).

Domestic pressures: There are non-trivial and significant differences in the constitutional 'direction' of even the most advanced western economies, which are the ones which one might most expect to converge (since, to a degree, they already have). This real data suggests that whilst a limited degree of convergence is likely and indeed can be observed, divergence on key aspects such as consumer rights, labor relations and product regulation is unlikely to significantly diminish.

Complexity: Constitutional frameworks are a very complex thing. If nothing else it seems to me that we have several iterations of constitutional experimentation/competition ahead of us before we establish anything like an ideal model. This is obvious from the second point, if nothing else. So even if he is right then he is describing a possibly-nascent phenomenon that is perhaps centuries in the completion.

OTOH, I almost had a road to Damascus moment (ok , I exaggerate) when it occured to me developed countries might be the wrong focus, and that a broader study of developing country constitutions, and extra-national restraints such as the Gulf Co-operation Council and the Organisation for Harmonisation of African Commercial Law (OHADA, I translated the name) might show indeed a significant level of convergence similar to that already shown by developed countries.

After all, democracies with universal franchise, the separation of powers, a broad presumption of private property and various levels of attachment to broadly the same fundamental rights constitutes a very high level of divergence by any historical standards.
6.11.2009 5:15pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
How are they going to balance constitutions that vary from allowing gay marriage to stoning gays to death? Multiculturalism would indicate that both should co-exist, but in most cases the West is deferring to Islam. This ought to be interesting...
6.11.2009 5:15pm
[insert here] delenda est:
Also, M is quite right, no-one conceived of the European Court of Justice striking down national exit taxes, for example. That was a striking gouge into national sovereignty that was unexpected, wholly unwelcome, and yet largely accepted.

In fact the ECJ has been a remarkably friendly jurisdiction for taxpayers, usually ruling against them on the smaller issues but when it comes to bidding for the whole house, out it goes! Obama's anti-foreign tax shelter plans, for example, would almost certainly be illegal in Europe.
6.11.2009 5:20pm
Desiderius:
"Judges played no role in the collapse of communism"

Not so sure about that. Brown was a preemptive strike against KGB propaganda aimed at America's most vulnerable flaw - our hypocrisy on race. The liberal jurisprudence that grew out of it made the Comintern worldview increasingly untenable.
6.11.2009 5:22pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Tracy:

Wouldn't the Greek cyclic theory have us - and the rats and the caves - all obliterated in a cosmic conflagration?
6.11.2009 5:23pm
Dr. Soos:
But this is the question: is Tushnet’s thesis just a version of Fukuyama, or is he saying something different?

Something different.

Transnational progressivism doesn't view liberal democracy as the end of history. Liberal democracy must instead "engage" with the authoritarian and Islamic currents and cross-pollinate with them.

Under TP, changes in our conceptions and laws about individual freedoms are inevitable. The only real taboos left are a) violence and b) its predecessor "judgement of someone else's value system".
6.11.2009 5:28pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):

Wouldn't the Greek cyclic theory have us - and the rats and the caves - all obliterated in a cosmic conflagration?


You're just going to have to wait a lot longer for that one, but it is likely to eventually happen.
6.11.2009 5:31pm
[insert here] delenda est:
Dr Soos, that is I believe a complete mischaracterisation of Tushnet's thesis. He is after all talking about convergence as the necessary result of (although he doesn't use this exact term) capital mobility.

More interesting to me is his follow-up response on OJ linked to by Eric, in which he seems to move a little back off 'bottom-up' convergence towards 'top-down' convergence such as that imposed by the ECJ on European countries, or even that of the WTO and numerous other treaties the US is party to.
6.11.2009 5:35pm
Rod B (mail):
I didn't read the referenced piece; is Tushnet referring to a constitution that is simply a priority legal document with any range of framework, or one that is based on the specifics of the U.S Constitution?

In either case, even though he described some mechanism for the convergence, what possible motivations are there in (the leaders of?) various cultures that would push them toward convergence. None seem self-evident.
6.11.2009 5:36pm
Cornellian (mail):
I think the idea that comparative advantage will lead every country over time (even if it takes centuries) so some single, ideal, governmental structure is flat out wrong. We have a federal system for entirely sensible reasons but why should a small, homogenous country like Iceland ever have one? Britain's system of a figurehead monarchy / parliamentary government works well enough for Britain but they happen to have a roughly 1600 year old monarchy conveniently available to take that job and America never will, so why would that system ever work here?
6.11.2009 5:58pm
ohwilleke:
Fukuyama is closer to the mark than Tushnet.

There is convergence on democracy with market based economies.

Iran's Revolution in 1979 was the wake up call for Islamist revolution. Thirty years later, they are holding an election which while conducted within boundaries set by the theological establishment is an election in which the people will have genuine input into who their leader will be, and has courts that provide more due process than quite a few others in the world (see, e.g., North Korea and Saudi Arabia).

Pakistan formed as an Islamic country at nearly the same time less than a year ago ousted a dictator in the face of street protests from lawyers and businessmen upset over the illegal ouster of a judge.

China has an increasingly market based economy (Chinese companies are lead bidders for Hummer and Volvo and China is a principal player in U.S. bond and import markets), has local government elections which are about as democratic as their Western counterparts, is strengthening centralized judicial control over the death penalty, and is generally fighting a rear guard action against greater political democracy.

What is not converging, and probably won't, is the structure of the constitutional order. Even systems that are very similar Westminster style parliamentary systems on the surface operate very differently in the U.K. and Japan respectively, for example. Germany and India have constitutional orders in which some elements of the constitutional order are more fundamental than others; the United States has a constitutional order in which all provisions are more or less co-equal with some extremely narrow exceptions expressly stated.

Likewise, some fundamental human rights are proving to be more universal than others. Freedom of religion isn't making out very well. Due process is doing rather better.
6.11.2009 6:05pm
[insert here] delenda est:
Cornellian, comparative advantage is flat-out right. Happily for you, the point of comparative advantage in this context is that countries need not so converge and in fact probably won't. So both you and the theory are right.
6.11.2009 6:15pm
Woodland Critter:
There seems to be an assumption in the model that constitutional law respresents a stable solution. While the human mind tends to project linearly toward a stable solution, this would seem to be a rash assuption. I argue that at its core, governement/law is the mechanism by which groups try to impose their will upon other groups by violence and threat of violence. As this process is dynamic and subject to frequent reorganization of groups, assumption of stability would appear to be ill advised.
6.11.2009 6:31pm
Mac (mail):

Islamism spreads in areas left behind by globalization and technology - not only poor Islamic countries, but even within those poor Islamic countries Islamism is the ideology of the rural, the poor and the uneducated.



Dan28,

Really? Then why were the 9/11 hijackers to a man from middle to upper class families? Why is Usama Bin Laden a very wealthy man (or was)? Why are so very many of these "leaders" from the elite, well-off of their society? I know that doesn't fit the story line i.e. if we just gave these people more stuff, all would be well. But, maybe you need a new story line that fits the facts.

I am not saying that poverty, in some cases, does not fit the facts, but it is certainly not the whole story and "more stuff" is not likely to change the equation. After all, Fred Phelps group seems to be quite well off. Think giving them more stuff will change their hateful, despicable attitude? Of course not. And it won't change those who love to hate and live to hate.
6.11.2009 8:35pm
Mark Bahner (www):
I'm sure the 'globalization' hubris of today's commentators will fall on deaf ears when we're cooking rat meat in our caves.


All cyborgs need are good batteries, and regular access to a wall outlet.
6.11.2009 8:51pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
Actually, on a show of "Taboo" the other night, rat meat was preferred amongst the rat catcher caste in India.
6.11.2009 9:21pm
John kmm (mail):
From 1830 to 1994 the Argentina ´s constitution was based in the American Constitution. It was interpreted based on american precedents.
The Venezuelan Constituion of 1811 was based on the american one. Still today, although the current Constitution is a copy of the spaniard, and this is a copy of the italian and german, it has some elements of american origin like the difuse constitutional control.
And most latinamerican Constitutions are base in the american one.
The German Supreme Court , in 1925, copied Lochner.
The Declaration of the rights of men and citizen , 1789, was drafted following the Virginian Constitution.
The idea of Higher Law can be traced back to Aristotle. That laws that are contrary to the higher law aer void can be found in Sofocles.
The globalization of constitutionalism began 2500 years ago.
6.11.2009 10:27pm
Danny (mail):
European courts used to be very interested in what the US courts were doing, because the US was most stable constitutional democracy and the only game in town in that respect. Now that other Western countries have gotten good at it too, they are examining each other more, with the US declining in relative influence (or so I have read, I am no expert)
6.11.2009 10:32pm
Danny (mail):
This was the article I read.
6.11.2009 10:38pm
wm13:
Mark Tushnet, Jack Balkin, and their friends can go to all the global conferences they want, they aren't men enough to strap up us down and force their law down our throats.

"When they said come down, I threw up."
6.11.2009 10:55pm
The River Temoc (mail):
And yet—states seem to be getting different all the time. Surely, there was divergence from, say, 1900 to 1930. And are we so sure that divergence is not occurring even today?

This is very far from obvious. To take one example, countries are increasingly abandoning national accounting standards in favor of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Most observers think that even the U.S. SEC will eventually accept reporting in IFRS as well as U.S. GAAP. Now, it is true that there are minor variations in IFRS from country to country; but the rules, on the whole, are much more standardized than they were under national accounting standards.
6.11.2009 11:08pm
The River Temoc (mail):
even within those poor Islamic countries Islamism is the ideology of the rural, the poor and the uneducated.

This is absolutely wrong. Islamist leaders tend to come from the middle and upper-middle classes, and its followers tends to come from peri-urban areas. Frequently the followers are rural migrants to cities, and they turn to mosques for social support. In Iran, bazar merchants were a key pillar of support for Khomeinism.

Mind you, I don't disagree with your assertion that Fukayama's these may withstand an Islamist challenge. Islamism seems to have a way of petering out over time. The Islamist parties did very badly in last year's Pakistani elections, and there seems to be a groundswell of popular anger against the Taliban (and against the government's lackadaisical reaction to the Taliban). In Iran, Islamism has visibly run its course. The real debate is now between reformists and Hugo Chavez-style populism with an Islamist veneer, the latter represented by Ahmadinejad.
6.11.2009 11:19pm
Danny (mail):
Or a Palin-style populism, since the veneer is religious.
6.11.2009 11:32pm
Mac (mail):
Danny,

Thanks for the pointer. That was a very interesting article.

I wonder when these very liberal European courts and others are going to start quoting Sharia law? And, as was pointed out in the article, free speech is a right the Europeans are comfortable with letting go to a far, far greater degree than we are (or, at least, have been). May be why our Founding Fathers felt it was so terribly important. The Europeans weren't too big on free speech in the 1600 and 1700's either.

Taking direction from a bunch of folks who started not one but two world wars in the last Century and gave us the Holocaust to boot and who then became incapable of defending themselves, but chose after WII and continue to choose to this date to rely on the US for their defense, does not appeal to me. My ancestors, as most of ours, came from, the Old Country. If it were so great, they wouldn't have left. It wasn't then and millions still come here today for the same reasons, varied as they may be, the US still beats home.
6.11.2009 11:34pm
Mac (mail):
Islamism seems to have a way of petering out over time.


The River Temoc,

Yes, but "over time" can be hundreds of years if past history is a guide to future performance.



The real debate is now between reformists and Hugo Chavez-style populism with an Islamist veneer, the latter represented by Ahmadinejad.


If Ajad represents an "Islamist veneer", then only heaven can save us from the real deal. He wants to nuke Israel to bring about the coming of the 13th Imam and the Rapture and the end of the world, for God's sake. That's a veneer? As odious as Chavez is, I don't think he wants to cause the end of the world. Also, a lot of Ajad's problems stem from crippling Iran's economy and putting her people in poverty so he can continue with his nuclear weapons, er, energy program. I simply see no relationship between the two.
6.11.2009 11:46pm
Danny (mail):
Well for me it's the reverse, to me US is the "old country" and I am an immigrant to Europe. With all due respect, I think you have a rather outdated view of Europe - I find Europe in general more 21st-century, more civilized, with better infrastructure and freer than where I lived in the US (although my personal experience of life in the US may have colored my views). My personal opinion, you are free to think otherwise. If you want to compare histories, well we can play that game against the US too.

And don't worry Shariah law is not going to show up here anytime soon - that is a Fox News fantasy. You actually have too civilized a view of the Islamists. Islamism is going to show up in a backpack in the subway, not in the constitutional court.

I think one of the (few) things Europe could learn from the US is precisely free speech and the first amendment, and to some extent self-defense and gun rights. But most of them would probably beg to differ. They can't lose full free speech because they never had it (indeed many of them are just one or two generations removed from an authoritarian or totalitarian situation). That's not something they miss from the US. Usually in Europe those who idealize the US are focused on its free-market capitalist economic model, versus Europe's red tape - not much else. The North American meritocracy versus Euro-nepotism - but that's more of a culture than a legal framework. And those have taken a beating with the economic crisis too.
6.12.2009 12:12am
Danny (mail):
Sorry I don't want to pull the thread OT - my point is not to argue about cultural differences and which system is better. Different horses for different courses. My point is that one country's exceptionalism is harder to justify on the fundamental human rights issues, especially a Western country (so no, USA, you can't sentence children to death and no, EU countries, you can't make it illegal to speak Breton or Basque or Kurdish on the radio). Economic globalization forces some convergence. There is a big distinction between citing some Western country or set of country's laws and going along with a world or strongly pan-Western standard on a human rights issue. In the first case the court has made its own decision and is essentially "decorating" its opinion with some foreign support, they cite each other because they like each other. The latter is more an example of real clout
6.12.2009 12:58am
pluribus:
Desiderius:

"Judges played no role in the collapse of communism"

Not so sure about that. Brown was a preemptive strike against KGB propaganda aimed at America's most vulnerable flaw - our hypocrisy on race. The liberal jurisprudence that grew out of it made the Comintern worldview increasingly untenable.

This is a good point, Desiderius, and I quite agree. (Please disregard any previous posts that suggest I can only be disagreeable.)
6.12.2009 8:32am
Ricardo (mail):
Really? Then why were the 9/11 hijackers to a man from middle to upper class families? Why is Usama Bin Laden a very wealthy man (or was)? Why are so very many of these "leaders" from the elite, well-off of their society?

The 9/11 pilots were middle and upper-class; the muscle hijackers (15 out of the 19) were mostly provincial bumpkins. The "20th hijacker" -- al-Qahtani -- was denied entry to the U.S. because the INS inspector in Orlando thought he was an illegal immigrant since he had little money, a high school education and could not speak English. He was pretty representative of the muscle hijackers. There will always be some educated and wealth Islamists: they are the ones likely to be natural leaders so, of course, they will be promoted and put in leadership positions. The point about some Islamists coming from wealthy backgrounds is well-taken but is also frequently overstated.

On the other hand,

Islamism spreads in areas left behind by globalization and technology - not only poor Islamic countries, but even within those poor Islamic countries Islamism is the ideology of the rural, the poor and the uneducated.

Pakistan is a globalized country by any reasonable standard. Yet Islamists have mounted extremely bold attacks within the country recently including the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the take-over of the Swat Valley only 100 miles from Islamabad. Moreover, Islamism seems pretty good at keeping people poor, uneducated and stuck in rural areas. I'm not convinced Islamism won't coexist with liberal democracy for a long time.
6.12.2009 9:49am
geokstr (mail):

Islamism spreads in areas left behind by globalization and technology - not only poor Islamic countries, but even within those poor Islamic countries Islamism is the ideology of the rural, the poor and the uneducated.

Hmmm... Does that mean that Europe is one of those "areas left behind by globalization and technology...?

There is a new dynamic at play here besides Islam spreading by the force of its wonderful and powerfully attractive dogma. It's called demography.

While reproduction by ethnic Europeans has fallen well below
replacement rates, the aging boomer population continues to demand its extremely generous benefits. Their pension and Social Security systems are far closer to insolvency than our own near bankrupt ones. In order to find workers and taxpayers to support their own badly depleted populations and exploding welfare liabilties, they have had to import tens of millions from the Muslim world. Muslims lead the entire planet by a long shot in fertility rate.

They will be taking over in the near future by sheer weight of numbers.

And don't worry Shariah law is not going to show up here anytime soon - that is a Fox News fantasy. You actually have too civilized a view of the Islamists. Islamism is going to show up in a backpack in the subway, not in the constitutional court.

I'm sure there are sections of Europe relatively untouched by the Muslim hordes, but it isn't the urban centers, some of which will actually be Muslim-majority within a generation. And the UK has gone far down the road to capitulation already.

And that "backpack in the subway" has already proved quite effective in at least one country, Spain, where it brought down a government favorable to the US that had a commanding lead in the polls with a timely backpack just before the election. Or was that before you got there?
6.13.2009 12:10pm
Ashvajit (mail):
Under TP, changes in our conceptions and laws about individual freedoms are inevitable. The only real taboos left are a) violence and b) its predecessor "judgement of someone else's value system".

Dr Soos has, I believe, highlighted two crucial points relevant to this interesting discussion: a) violence and b) judgement (of someone else's value system). Not only are these two ideas, or two notions, controversial, they are controversial even within nation-states, communisms, and otherwise well-defined democracies. Until and unless there is Universal (i.e. world-wide acknowledgement/agreement) on 1) what constitutes violence 2) what consitutes a valid (i.e. wise and compassionate) value system, Universal Peace (i.e. what I believe Fukuyama was really talking about when he used the term 'the end of history') will, I believe, evade the World.

I do not, therefore, think that either of these should by world citizens be regarded as taboos, viz. discussion of what constitutes violence and its converse what constitutes love and compassion, or the disussion and indeed critiquing of another's value-system. In fact, to refrain from either of these things is in effect, I believe, to capitulate to evil.
6.14.2009 5:28am

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