Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question.
This book advances a novel theory of international justice that combines the orthodox liberal notion that the lives of individuals are what ultimately matter morally with the putatively antiliberal idea of an irreducibly collective right of self-governance. The individual and her rights are placed at center stage insofar as political states are judged legitimate if they adequately protect the human rights of their constituents and respect the rights of all others. Yet, the book argues that legitimate states have a moral (...) right to self-determination and that this right is inherently collective, irreducible to the individual rights of the persons who constitute them. Exploring the implications of these ideas, the book addresses issues pertaining to democracy, secession, international criminal law, armed intervention, political assassination, global distributive justice, and immigration. A number of the positions taken in the book run against the grain of current academic opinion: there is no human right to democracy; separatist groups can be morally entitled to secede from legitimate states; the fact that it is a matter of brute luck whether one is born in a wealthy state or a poorer one does not mean that economic inequalities across states must be minimized or even kept within certain limits; most existing states have no right against armed intervention; and it is morally permissible for a legitimate state to exclude all would-be immigrants. (shrink)
First published in 2005, A Theory of Secession: The Case for Political Self-Determination offers an unapologetic defense of the right to secede. Christopher Heath Wellman argues that any group has a moral right to secede as long as its political divorce will leave it and the remainder state in a position to perform the requisite political functions. He explains that there is nothing contradictory about valuing legitimate states, while permitting their division. Once political states are recognized as valuable because of (...) the functions that they are uniquely suited to perform, it becomes apparent that the territorial boundaries of existing states might permissably be redrawn as long as neither the process, nor the result of this reconfiguration, interrupts the production of the crucial political benefits. Thus, if one values self-determination, then one has good reason to conclude that people have a right to determine their political boundaries. (shrink)
Applied or practical ethics is perhaps the largest growth area in philosophy today, and many issues in moral, social, and political life have come under philosophical scrutiny in recent years. Taken together, the essays in this volume – including two overview essays on theories of ethics and the nature of applied ethics – provide a state-of-the-art account of the most pressing moral questions facing us today. Provides a comprehensive guide to many of the most significant problems of practical ethics Offers (...) state-of-the-art accounts of issues in medical, environmental, legal, social, and business ethics Written by major philosophers presently engaged with these complex and profound ethical issues. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that absent special circumstances, there are no moral, judicial procedural rights. I divide this essay into four main sections. First, I argue that there is no general moral right against double jeopardy. Next, I explain why punishing a criminal without first establishing her guilt via a fair trial does not necessarily violate her rights. In the third section, I respond to a number of possible objections. And finally, I consider the implications of my arguments for (...) the human right to due process. (shrink)
: After defining a hate crime as an offense in which the criminal selects the victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs, this essay surveys the standard justifications for state punishment en route to defending the permissibility of imposing stiffer penalties for hate crimes. It also argues that many standard instances of rape and domestic battery are hate crimes and may be punished as such.
After defining a hate crime as an offense in which the criminal selects the victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs, this essay surveys the standard justifications for state punishment en route to defending the permissibility of imposing stiffer penalties for hate crimes. It also argues that many standard instances of rape and domestic battery are hate crimes and may be punished as such.
This essay explores the prospects of developing a satisfying account of group autonomy without rejecting value-individualism. That is, I will examine whether one can adequately explain the moral reasons to respect a group's claim to self-determination while insisting that only individual persons are of ultimate moral value.
In this book, Christopher Heath Wellman offers original theories of political legitimacy and our obligation to obey the law, and then, building upon these accounts, defends a number of distinctive positions concerning the rights and responsibilities individual citizens, separatist groups, and political states have regarding one another.
This dissertation provides a systematic analysis of when an individual or group has a right to secede that is grounded in self-determination. Since the primary question in a secessionist conflict concerns the territory being contested, any analysis of the right to secede must provide an account of what grounds the existing state's claim to political jurisdiction over its territory. With this in mind, I examine consent and teleological justifications for the state and find both inadequate. ;The consent account posits that (...) a political state is justified just in case it has the consent of its citizens. I reject the consent approach for its unacceptable implication that unlimited secession is permissible from all existing states. I then suggest that our disinclination to allow unlimited secession is instructive since it indicates not only that we believe a consentual justification is morally unnecessary, but also that a state is justified in virtue of the peace it secures and the rights it protects. This teleological justification ultimately proves inadequate as well, however, because it both restricts secessionist movements that seem permissible and allows coercive annexations that appear clearly unjustified. ;As an alternative to these extremes, I propose a hybrid model of political legitimacy. According to my theory, while individuals and small groups may not secede, a larger group may, provided it is of sufficient size to satisfactorily perform the functions that are necessary for a state to ground its claim to territory. Thus I conclude a political state should limit political liberty in a manner analogous to the way it legitimately limits the liberty to drive a car. Specifically, since many people would be harmed if there were no legal restrictions on who could drive, states institute age and health requirements limiting who may drive. Citizens not eliminated by these standards must also demonstrate a minimum threshold of competence by passing tests. In similar fashion, a state may initially restrict the right to secede to groups of a specific size, and then further require that interested parties demonstrate their ability and willingness to govern in a stable, efficient, and liberal manner. (shrink)