Graduate studies at Western
Stanford Journal of International Law 48 (2):257 (2012)
|Abstract||The idea of “promoting democracy” is one that goes in and out of favor. With the advent of the so-called “Arab Spring”, the idea of promoting democracy abroad has come up for discussion once again. Yet an important recent line of thinking about human rights, starting with John Rawls’s book The Law of Peoples, has held that there is no human right to democracy, and that nondemocratic states that respect human rights should be “beyond reproach” in the realm of international relations. This is, for obvious reasons, a controversial view, especially given the powerful and important arguments purporting to show that democracies do significantly better than nondemocracies in promoting internal peace and equality, and in engaging in peaceful international cooperation. Both proponents and opponents of the Rawlsian view of human rights have argued that the view implies that democracies may not “promote democracy” in nondemocratic societies. But, given that all parties to this dispute agree that democracy is necessary for justice, and given the important instrumental goods provided by democracy, the Rawlsian view has seemed deeply implausible to many. In this paper I blunt this challenge to the Rawlsian view by showing how, even if there is no human right to democracy, we may still rightfully promote democracy in a number of ways and cases. Showing this requires investigation of what it means to “promote democracy”, and a more careful inspection of when various methods of promoting democracy are appropriate than has been done by most political theorists working on human rights. When we look carefully, we can see that in some instances acceptable forms of promoting democracy are compatible with the Rawlsian view of human rights, and that this view is therefore not vulnerable to the “instrumentalist” challenge. We also see how, if political philosophy is to be useful, it must be less abstract and look closely at actual cases. This paper posted by permission of the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. For information visit the Stanford University website.|
|Keywords||Human Rights Democracy Rawls Democracy Promotion Decent societies Thomas Christiano global justice|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Michael Goodhart (2008). Human Rights and Global Democracy. Ethics and International Affairs 22 (4):395-420.
Filip Spagnoli (2003). Homo Democraticus: On the Universal Desirability and the Not so Universal Possibility of Democracy and Human Rights. Cambridge Scholars.
Omar Dahbour (2006). Is “Globalizing Democracy” Possible? Radical Philosophy Today 2006:255-260.
Pablo Gilabert (2012). Is There a Human Right to Democracy? A Response to Joshua Cohen. Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia Politica / Latin American Journal of Political Philosophy 1 (2):1-37.
Thomas Christiano (2010). The Constitution of Equality: Democratic Authority and Its Limits. OUP Oxford.
Eva Erman (2005). Human Rights and Democracy: Discourse Theory and Human Rights Institutions. Ashgate.
Eva Erman (2011). Human Rights Do Not Make Global Democracy. Contemporary Political Theory 10 (4):463.
Alan Thomas (2012). Property Owning Democracy, Liberal Republicanism, and the Idea of an Egalitarian Ethos. In T. Williamson (ed.), Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond. Wiley-Blackwell.
Francis Cheneval (2011). The Government of the Peoples: On the Idea and Principles of Multilateral Democracy. Palgrave Macmillan.
John McGowan (2012). Pragmatist Politics: Making the Case for Liberal Democracy. University of Minnesota Press.
Keith M. Dowding, Robert E. Goodin, Carole Pateman & Brian Barry (eds.) (2004). Justice and Democracy: Essays for Brian Barry. Cambridge University Press.
Brian Doherty & Marius de Geus (eds.) (1996). Democracy and Green Political Thought: Sustainability, Rights, and Citizenship. Routledge.
Cécile Fabre (2000). Social Rights Under the Constitution: Government and the Decent Life. OUP Oxford.
Robert Keith Shaw (2009). The Phenomenology of Democracy. Policy Futures in Education 7 (3):340-348.
Added to index2012-02-10
Total downloads25 ( #55,738 of 739,392 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #26,423 of 739,392 )
How can I increase my downloads?