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Cosmopolitanism and Democratic Freedom

  • Hauke Brunkhorst
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    Cosmopolitanism has a long history. Yet there is a great difference between classical and modern cosmopolitanism. Whereas the latter is an ideology of the classical empire that is grounded in a hierarchical society, modern cosmopolitanism is based on egalitarian and individualistic premises, and is related closely to the constitutional law and the ideological justification of the nation state and its imperial cravings. Whereas the modern nation state in a way has solved the fundamental religious, political and socio-economic crises of modernity within its boarders (at least in the western hemisphere), its greatest advance, the exclusion of inequalities, was at the price of the exclusion of the internal other: of blacks, workers, women, etc., and the other that stemmed from the non-European world that furthermore was under European colonial rule or other forms of European, North-American, or Japanese imperial control. Yet, the wars and revolutions of the 20th century led to a complete reconstruction, new foundation and globalization of all national and international law. The evolutionary advances of the 20th century consisted in the emergence of world law, and this finally enabled the normative (not necessarily factual) construction of international and national welfarism. Nevertheless the dialectic of enlightenment came back again and led to new forms of postnational domination, hegemony, oppression and exclusion, and the emergence of a new formation of transnational class rule. In the final section the possibilities of a democratic ‘Reform nach Prinzipien’ (Kant) are considered.

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    Paper provided by RECON in its series RECON Online Working Papers Series with number 9.

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    Date of creation: 15 Mar 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0093
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