Putting Liberalism in Its Place
Princeton University Press, 2009 M01 10 - 336 páginas
In this wide-ranging interdisciplinary work, Paul W. Kahn argues that political order is founded not on contract but on sacrifice. Because liberalism is blind to sacrifice, it is unable to explain how the modern state has brought us to both the rule of law and the edge of nuclear annihilation. We can understand this modern condition only by recognizing that any political community, even a liberal one, is bound together by faith, love, and identity.
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More importantly, we will not understand the way in which the nation-state presents itself to the citizen as an ultimate value, that is, one for which the citizen may be asked to sacrifice his or her life. Liberal thought, as well as ...
This is the will as a capacity to experience an ultimate or transcendent value as an historical experience in the world. Neither reason nor interest provides access to a world that shows itself as an image and product of the divine.
The state makes a claim upon us that we perceive as one of ultimate meaning. Quite literally, we can be conscripted by the state: it can demand of us that we sacrifice the self for the maintenance of the political community.
This chapter also traces the way in which American liberalism has had to maintain an awkward relationship with an experience of our politics as a source of ultimate value. Liberalism has served as a kind of creed.
The political rhetoric of sovereignty and sacrifice, the idea that political identity offers a source of ultimate meaning, is a language that no longer speaks to the condition of many citizens. The rule of law does, but this is law ...
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