Liberal Laws V. the Law of Large Numbers, or How Demographic Rhetoric Arouses Anxiety (in Germany)

Law and Ethics of Human Rights 2 (1):54-87 (2008)
This paper presents the metaphysics of liberal rights reasoning on one hand and that of demographic reasoning on the other, as exemplifying two worldviews that both compete and complement each other in the contemporary German public debate on demographic decline. First, this essay outlines the way in which liberal theorists of various outlooks, perfectionist and neutralist alike, assume that a wide range of rights serves not only the interests of those individuals who possess them, but that it constitutes the foundations of a just and stable political order in general and therefore is to the advantage of everyone. Second, the essay explains how demographic reasoning questions the assumption of harmony shared by the liberal approaches. Third, it provides an impression of the way in which demographic arguments have been deployed in the public sphere in Germany in the last few years. These arguments associate the autonomy of women with the demise of Germany. They claim that by encouraging women to pursue self-realization as self-interested individuals, the modern secular ethos of Germany as a democratic welfare society may be self-destructive in the long run, since it leads to sub-replacement fertility. Finally, the essay stresses that liberal and demographic perspectives share a “blindness” of historical events. In response, the conclusion brings history back in, by historicizing both demographic reasoning and demographic developments in Germany, with the aim of defusing some of the anxieties that may have been aroused by the current debate.
Keywords demography  liberal rights  Germany  Women's rights  fertility  history
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2202/1938-2545.1016
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,215
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Are Cultural Group Rights Against Individual Rights?Erol Kuyurtar - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:51-59.
Neutrality, Liberal Nation Building and Minority Cultural Rights.Zhidas Daskalovski - 2002 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 5 (3):27-50.
Corporate Property Rights.Larry May - 1986 - Journal of Business Ethics 5 (3):225 - 232.
Liberalism and the Challenge of Race.Michael J. Monahan - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (4):689-704.
Immigration Rights and the Demographic Consideration.Yaacov Ben-Shemesh - 2008 - Law and Ethics of Human Rights 2 (1):1-34.
The Church, Germany, and the Natural Law.Kurt von Schuschnigg - 1958 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):339-360.
Liberal Pornographic Rights.Pilhong Hwang - 2003 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2):225-240.
The Rights-Bearing Citizen as a Problematic Actor of Liberal Politics.Filiz Kartal - 2006 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 2:159-163.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

16 ( #296,373 of 2,164,542 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #347,971 of 2,164,542 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums