The Good European: On Jürgen Habermas | The Nation

Get your deep supranationalist theory here from the heart of Europe. Habermas makes the case why the EU’s survival is the best model for a supranational constitutional democracy:

First, the more populations that engage in the deliberative process of governing beyond the nation-state, the more likely it is that normative criteria will emerge and find general assent. Second, global citizenship, like European citizenship, does not require a global ethnicity or national identity: citizenship can just as well be based on shared principles, such as freedom of thought, political integrity, justice and the rule of law. Third, as in the EU, individuals simultaneously legitimize the new polity as citizens of their respective states and as citizens of the new commonwealth. States would no longer be fully sovereign powers, but would regard themselves as members of the international community. Because of its transnational character and the need for new communicative structures, the solidarity of world citizens would no longer be “embedded in the context of a shared political culture.”

Habermas does not imagine a global republic but rather a supranational association of citizens and states that is based on a divided sovereignty, as with the EU. Divided sovereignty demonstrates that a change in perspective from classical human rights law to the political constitution of the world society is no longer unthinkable. Ecological and technological risks do not confront single states or coalitions of states alone, but can be mastered only through the cooperation of world powers that can develop globally effective norms and procedures.

The new polity would absorb the UN Security Council and the international courts (like the ICC), develop an expanded legal basis for human rights policy, and extend the system of international law to include matters that take into account moral issues (what Habermas calls “global domestic politics”). Because all world religions and cultures condemn human rights violations and wars of aggression, a supranational polity need only apply “intersubjectively shared” moral principles and norms. From this remote perspective, we need not concern ourselves with the limited efficacy and political fractiousness of existing supranational institutions. For Habermas, the narrative of the “civilizing power of democratic constitutions” at the level of an “international community” would culminate in a “cosmopolitan community.”

via The Good European: On Jürgen Habermas | The Nation.

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