Habermas on "The Political"

In a new book edited by Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, entitled "The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere" (Columbia University Press), you will find essays by Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, Judith Butler and Cornel West.

Here are some excerpts from Jürgen Habermas's contribution ""The Political": The Rational Meaning of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology" (pp. 15-33):

"In the welfare state democracies of the latter half of the twentieth century, politics was still able to wield a steering influence on the diverging subsystems; it could still counterbalance tendencies toward social disintegration. (....) Today, under conditions of globalized capitalism, the political capacities for protecting social integration are becoming dangerously restricted. As economic globalization progresses, the picture that systems theory sketched of social modernization is acquiring ever sharper contours in reality. According to this interpretation, politics as a means of democratic self-determination has become as impossible as it is superfluous. (....) "The political" has been transformed into the code of a self-maintaining administrative system, so that democracy is in danger of becoming a mere facade, which the executive agencies turn toward their helpless clients." [p. 15f]

"Today the social sciences lay claim to the political system as their subject matter; they deal with "politics" that is, with the struggle for and the exercise of power, and also with "policies" - that is, the goals and strategies pursued by political actors in different fields. Besides normative political theory, philosophers have long since lost their special competence for the "political system". "The political" no longer appears to constitute a serious philosophical topic alongside "politics" and "policies"." [p. 16f]

"If we continue to understand "the political" as the symbolic medium of self-representation of a society that consciously influences the mechanisms of social integration, then the expansion of markets (....) involves, in fact, a certain degree of "depoliticization" of the society at large. [p. 20]. (....) In Carl Schmitt's view, liberalism is the force that robs politics of its significance for society as a whole - on the one hand, a functionally differentiated society is emancipated from the shaping force of politics and, on the other, the state is decoupled from a privatized religion that has lost its sting. Schmitt, therefore, develops a new and provocative concept of "the political" that is superficially adapted to mass democracy but preserves the authoritarian kernel of a sovereign power with its legitimizing relation to sacred history." [p. 21f]

"Of course, Carl Schmitt's clericofascist conception of "the political" is a matter of the past, but it must serve as a warning to all those who want to revive political theology. (....) In one way or the other, the diagnosis of a progressive "negation of the political" does not seem to have been refuted. The remaining worry can be put in a nutshell: How can respect for the inviolability of human dignity, and, more generally, a public awareness of the relevance of normative questions, be kept alive in the face of growing and disarming systemic strains on the social integration of our political communities?" [p. 23]

"In a liberal democracy, state power has lost its religious aura. And, in view of the fact of persisting pluralism, it is hard to see on which normative ground the historical step toward the secularization of state power could ever be reversed. This in turn requires a justification of constitutional essentials and the outcomes of the democratic process in ways that are neutral toward the cognitive claims of competing worldviews. Democratic legitimacy is the only one available today. (....) This is, however, not to deny the great insight of John Rawls: The liberal constitution itself must not ignore the contributions that religious groups can well make to the democratic process within civil society. (....) Rawls .... offers, with his idea of the "public use of reason", a promising key for explaining how the proper role of religion in the public sphere contributes to a rational interpretation of what we still might call "the political" as distinct from politics and policies. The only element transcending administrative politics and institutionalized power politics emerges from the anarchic use of communicative freedoms that keeps alive the spring tide of informal flows of public communication from below. Through these channels alone, vital and nonfundamentalist religious communities can become a transformative force in the center of a democratic civil society - all the more so when frictions between religious and secular voices provoke inspiring controversies on normative issues and thereby stimulate an awareness of their relevance." [p. 24f].

"The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere" is based on lectures given at SUNY Stony Brook in October 2010. Materials related to this event, including audio recordings and transcripts of the panel sessions, are available here.

See my previous post on the book here.

See excerpts from Craig Calhoun's afterword to the book here.


Habermas receives Brunet Prize for Human Rights

Jürgen Habermas received the International Brunet Prize for Human Rights 2008 at a ceremony on May 9, 2009, in Pamplona, Spain. The prize was awarded by the Fundación Jaime Brunet and the Public University of Navarre (UPNA). The chairman of the Government of Navarra, Miguel Sanz, the president of Parliament, Elena Torres, and the rector of UPNA and president of the Foundation Brunet, Julio Lafuente, participated at the ceremony.

Read Habermas's acceptance speech (in German) here.

In his acceptance speech Habermas stressed that the human rights are the result of "political resistance against arbitrariness, repression and humiliation. After the constitutional revolutions of the eighteenth century they have gradually been incorporated into nearly all nations and all languages, but as often violated as confirmed."
"The struggle for the establishment of human rights continues in China, Africa, Bosnia or Kosovo, and also in our own countries. Every return of asylum applicants behind the closed entry at an airport, every sinking boat with people fleeing from poverty on their way from Libya to the island of Lampedusa puts a question to us - the citizens of Europe. The struggle for recognition of religious, racial and cultural minorities, for child protection, for equal treatment for homosexual couples and for equal working conditions between men and women is still ongoing - not to forget the young women from immigrant families who have to extricate themselves from the violence of a code of honor rooted in tradition." (unofficial translation).

Before the ceremony Habermas met the press. Asked about president Obama, he stated that "Obama is an American phenomenon and in Europe we have nothing comparable to him. After eight years of Bush, Obama has been a great gift. Something that sets us apart from the Americans is that they get exited about things that are not directly related to their personal interest. The history of Europe in the twentieth century has been quite complicated, and that makes it more appropriate that in Europe we are less enthusiastic and to a larger extend have our feet placed on the ground." (unofficial translation from "Diario de Navarra, May 9, 2009).


New Blog on Habermas and Rawls

My blog will bring news on the two philosophers - Jürgen Habermas (1929-) and John Rawls (1921-2002). The blog will mainly have comments on new books and articles and information about conferences and other events. It will be written in both English and German.

The blog will be a supplement to the Habermas website www.habermasforum.dk, which I am co-editing. For an extensive bibliography on Habermas see this website.

Charlie Chaplin

Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16 at 1889 in Walworth, London. His childhood similar with Charles Dickens novel, because Chaplin live under destitution with his brother, Sydney. His parents are hall musicians. They divorce when Chaplin was vey young. His mother attacked mental disruption illness and her turn into psyche hospital. Although his father is a famous musician, Chaplin’s idol is his mother. When he was young, Chaplin often watches his mother performance. These experiences make him decide his live become an artists like her mother. To reach his goal, Chaplin join with Eight Lancashire Lads group. Then, Chaplin gets his performance at Sherlock Holmes and Casey’s Court Circus.

Meanwhile, his brother, Sydney has joined with famous Fred Karno Company and soon, become main actor and director. He success invite Chaplin to joined and together, Chaplin become a star in that group. For that brothers, Fred Karno Company is a comedian high school. This period have a big impact to Charlie Chaplin to face the future. At 1910, together with Fred Karno Company, Chaplin organize a circumference performance around USA and that it again at 1912.

His second performance in Fred Karno Company, Chaplin founded by seeker talent, Mack Sennett. He is a Keystone Film Company owner. With this company, Charlie Chaplin introduced to movies world. His first film is a Makin A living at 1914, director by Henry Lehrman. Together with his film director, Mabel Normand, Chaplin makes many performances in Keystone Production. At Twenty Minutes of Love movie, he directs his own film. At that moment, he always directs his own next film.

His popularity make him able move to many film company with better contract. At 1915, after creates 35 films, he move to Essanay. Here, he solidifies his career together with long-lasting major artist at his film, such as Edna Purviance. At that moment, he create many protrude film, include The Champion, The Tramp and The Bank.

At 1916, he moves again to Lone Star Mutual and get better contract and higher payment. Here, he create short comedy film and then known as it peculiarity, The Rink, Easy Street, The Cure and The Immigrant, and then continue with First National and create a long film which become his masterpiece, The Kid. He create some short famous comedy film is his next production, included Sunnyside and The Idle Class.

Together with his best friend, like Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W Griffith, Chaplin created United Artist at 1919. His first film to this company at 1923 is Woman of Paris performed by Edna Purviance. Maybe this film not too famous, but after this film, The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Light and Modern Times was born and known as Charlie Chaplin Classics. At 1940, Chaplin make his first sound film, The Great Director, and continue with Monsieur Verdoux and Limelight, a his childhood memory in music hall film. Limelight (1952) is a last film in America. McCarthy politic maneuver success extrudes him out of America and not back again until 1972 for obtain Academy Award (Oscar) for his serve to film world.

During that, he welcomed well in England. He live in Switzerland together with his wife, Oona O’Neil and his children. He create 2 more film, A king In New York (1957 together with Dawn Addams) and A Countess From Hong Kong (1967 with Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando). He spend his live with create a music to his film and enjoy live with his family before died at 4 A.M in Christmas 1977.

William Hewlett

If we hear ‘Hewlett’ maybe our imagination is imagine of famous print brand named Hewlett-Packard (HP). It’s true that one of Hewlett Packard founder is William R. Hewlett. Hewlett was born on May, 20 at 1912 in¬¬ Ann Arbor, Mich. At 1939, Hewlett establish Hewlett-Packard (HP) Company together with David Packard who died at 1996.
This company was build only with $538 investment. Of course Hewlett-Packard name taken from their name. In Hewlett-Packard Company, Hewlett hold important commission, but after 1978, Hewlett quit from his commission as Chief Executive Officer.
During his student, Hewlett take some academic title from many colleges. In 1934, Hewlett gain his Bachelor Arts academic title from Stanford University. His master academic in Electrical Engineering, gained from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 1936 and next 3 year, Hewlett gain engineering academic from Stanford University. Hewlett is a receiver of 13 Honorary Degrees in many Universities.
When studied at Stanford University, he meet with David Packard and finally become Hewlett best friend. Hewlett career is interesting. When second word war happen, Hewlett work as US soldier. During his assignment as US soldier, Hewlett included as inspection Japan industries team when second word war over. At 1947, after he back from his assessment, Hewlett go to Palo Ato.
He begin work at his establish company with David Packard and officiate as vice president in Hewlett-Packard company. At 1957, Hewlett officiate as Executive vice president. Seven years later, Hewlett officiate as President of HP. At 1969, he officiate as Chief Executive Officer. Hewlett hold his position during 9 year and at 1978 he quit from his position.
Hewlett is a subjugate person of science and technology. Because of that, at 1985, US president, Ronald Reagan gives him a National Medal of Science appreciation for his service to science and technology. That award is a higher appreciation in America. Hewlett is a education, medical and social big concern person. He work at many institute, like Stanford Medical Center, Kaiser Foundation Hospital, The Carnegie Institution of Washington and Drug Abuse Council in Washington.
William R. Hewlett died at 12 January 2001 when he 87 years, but, Hewlett will always become people memorizes cause his company with David Packard is a one of the best word IT company. Hewlett-Packard creates many gadget like PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), printer, computer, and etcetera. Now, many of Hewlett-Package item, use by all person in the word.

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