Philosophical approaches

John Perry

Roma case (addressed by PhD student) concerns loyalties etc. that like citizenship but not toward nation-state; similarly, unions (addressed by Sian Lazar) are in some ways similar to democratic states and in other ways not (we still need a passport from states)

Early Christians refuse to accept Emperor is divine but pay taxes etc. > religious and political duties not incompatible: theopolitical obligations from one’s theopolitical community

Does one’s theopolitical community differ in kind from one’s national community?

> Augustine

  • city of man/god could be read as two levels that not to be confused, though this is not how he intended it
  • uses republic for church > suggest theopolitical trumps national loyalty?
  • example of pirate: all earthly communities do display justice up to a point

Locke: can’t ground ethics on what makes people happy > part of attempt to replace with lowest common denominator (LCD) ethics

> recent critics such as Hauerwas, Millbank etc. charge that ethics and political theory go wrong when anti-teleological, LCD, individualist etc.

  • for them, instead about good life of flourishing a la Aquinas and ultimately ecclesial ethics: church as polis which is social ethic (Hauerwas)

But what do they think about national polis?

  • Hauerwas: church should withdraw from polis (like Amish)
  • Millsbank: church triumphant – can teach national polis
  • Macintryre: polis only possible in small communities

Problem with modernity critics is they still think they can’t say something about national polis because too plural – just as Locke was wrong to think no common ground on flourishing

> can we say anything teleological about political community? what are they for? is there a common good? is it really not possible to say anything useful about ends? are we justified in praising community (e.g. labour unions) not just because they help to level the playing-field but in their own right? is it possible to ask generally about what political communities are for?

Daniel Koltonski

Citizen according to liberal theory has moral duty to uphold the law

> need for robust notion of political community, rather than just very thin, though can make duty to obey law quite hard to achieve

Liberal commitments

  • Aspires to people obeying law as such
  • Democratic governance in producing law
  • Citizens able to endorse other than just through threat of coercion (Rawls: stability for right reasons)
  • Ideal of free and equal citizen

How about citizen who doesn’t feel ties and doesn’t know why should obey law? Or about citizen who wants to pursue justice but encounters law that finds unjust – why should law’s idea of justice override my own?

e.g. jury member who believes law unjust can find not guilty to nullify law in particular case

e.g. someone who believes that should have right to vote but doesn’t

And is there a moral risk of obeying law? If you believe law is wrong but obey it, you are an agent in injustice.

Only way of justifying obeying the law as such is in terms of horizontal bond: because we’ve decided it as members of same political collective, makes it just even though find it unjust

> problem is “we” in that force or moral status of vote doesn’t depend on whether or not motivated by justice (as concern for fellow citizens’ rights being respected): aggregate doesn’t seem enough to determine that we have decided to govern our lives.

Need to be able to see law as result of procedure through which everyone gets to decide what justice requires, not just aspirationally but actually: even if disagreement, citizen can recognize that everyone’s aim is same > upholding law is respecting everyone else’s participating in process: I treat your judgement with respect because you’ve treated me with respect

Thus liberal political community can tolerate disagreement at margins but not about core values e.g. freedom of speech

e.g. tighter ID laws: justified by risk of non-citizens voting and thus corrupting, but if in fact very rare voter fraud and enacting ID laws tends to disenfranchise citizens who haven’t been able to get ID

> people enacting is in fact attempt to depress vote, especially by Republicans, such that no reason for polling officer to think that voter ID laws are just and should therefore be upheld

e.g. burdensome paper requirements for claiming welfare in many states: those involved including civil servants don’t have good reason to believe that process is about concern for justice

Discussion

Ionut: Hobbes: sovereign exists to keep in awe > do political communities exist because we are just afraid of each other?

Nate Jezzi to Daniel K: how about when disagree with own conceptions of good, as opposed to justice? i.e. could argument be extended beyond liberals?

Andrea Warnecke: stronger statement would be that someone would not participate in jury because believes would stabilise system that believes fundamentally unjust

> DK agrees distinct from withholding in individual case

Bernd Wannenwetsch to JP: what does theological perspective add to question of teleology? not just how goods relate to the good, but how is the good related in turn to highest good?

  • Hobbes says without explanation that we can no longer assume highest good
  • Aristotle defines good of family etc. but was silent about goods of polis as community of communities (family etc.)

> JP early liberals right about pluralism: first-order principles won’t be decisive

Ajay Gudavarthy to DK: if justice is purpose, how translate series of individual acts into collective act? Gandhi: you violate law but follow consequences of not violating law by courting arrest > this is how integrate individual act to collective act

> DK: regards as move designed to signal seriousness i.e. not “merely” individual – as member of political community, this law doesn’t have authority over us

>> Ajay: may uphold justice at individual level but may transgress justice at collective level

+ Why stigmatising interest? Problem is simply how to convert interest in political issue

> DK agrees that political question about prioritising issues

Matyas Bodig: in Communist Hungary was easy to argue that government was illegitimate but still didn’t break law > could still get something from it e.g. school for kids, attention if domestic dispute, so best to stay with it and wait for time to come when can repair broken relationship between state and citizenry

Nadia Kiwan: Jean-Luc Nancy – shared finitude (mortality) as LCD below self

> JP explains that arguing for more than LCD that Locke sets out

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