Problems of Civil Society Development

Posted by Ruland on July 2nd, 2021

Theories of American Multiculturalism and Problems of Civil Society Development

American history and culture is a product of the intellectual and spiritual and moral life activity of huge masses of people who were attracted by the dream of a new happy life, about the "Promised Land", and for the sake of faith in which they left the Old World in the hope of getting a new chance in life. So gradually a new concept of life was formed, based on the so-called "American Dream". You can talk a lot about this spiritual and ideological phenomenon, based on the denial of previous forms of life associated with religious and political persecution, spiritual intolerance in the former homeland. The main thing is that it contained a life-affirming orientation towards building a new and free world in a country of equal opportunities.

This entire complex of intellectual and spiritual construction was largely based on the ideas of liberalism. It is known that liberalism was formed in Europe in the 17th-18th centuries as a challenge to the previous ideas about the state as a natural or divine formation with a person as its smallest particle. Moreover, the latter was not endowed with the right of free will and choice. With liberalism, a system of views on the state arose, which was based on the idea of ​​an agreement (or contract) between citizens who are subjects of state life. The concept of the state as limited by the tasks of serving the interests and needs of a person was the core of what can be called liberalism. This concept of the state, in principle, was basically a product of the work of John Locke. His ideas had a huge impact on the creators of the American Constitution of 1787.

Locke's liberal concept of justice has found adequate ground for its development in America, although it is from Locke that European theories of political liberalism trace their history. The principles of liberalism developed by Locke, suggesting the priority of individual opinions and manifestations, recognizing the inalienability and inalienability of human rights, considering his freedom as an absolute value, lead him to an understanding of political justice as conventionality. Political knowledge, therefore, reveals public opinion as the opinion of the majority and becomes the embodiment of political justice.

Thus, we can outline the basic concepts of American liberalism:

  • Liberty; 
  • Equality. 

The latter presupposes two types of it: political equality of all people and equality of opportunities. (This concept focuses on the fact that in a good society, the government creates conditions under which individuals are forced to fight to improve their well-being in accordance with their ambitions and abilities, but within the framework of a system of laws, which, in turn, imply respect for the value of life and property other individuals).

The third fundamental concept of liberalism is freedom (Freedom). It includes not just the ability to do what everyone wants, but, above all, the idea of ​​a certain degree of success or satisfaction of a citizen living among other citizens in a particular state.

Finally, the fourth concept of liberalism is justice. It consists in the idea that a person, as a rational being, is able to treat the same things in the same way and different things in different ways, agreeing on general rules and requirements, but on the basis of which he is able to decide on the correspondence of some things to others.

Gradually, Locke's liberalism as the dominant political ideology of America is being replaced by utilitarianism, which is rooted in the philosophy of John Stuart Mill. american dream essay samples The dominance of utilitarianism marks the emergence of the first crisis that liberalism is experiencing. According to utilitarianism, not equality of opportunity, but good (benefit) becomes the measure of justice. Utilitarianism is a kind of response to the development of the labor movement, including in America. And since the mid-19th century, it has become the dominant form of liberalism in America for decades.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the second crisis of liberalism took place. It was generated by the development of fascism in Europe and the development of political conservatism. American liberalism responds to the crisis with the formation of neoliberalism. The essence of the latter concept is well reflected in the political course of Theodore Roosevelt. The state is again included in the orbit of liberal thought, the concept of which becomes a regulatory idea.

The fact is that the rapid pace of industrialization in America in the last decades of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century began to reveal more and more the fact that an unregulated private sector of economic activity begins to deny the fundamental conditions for providing free chances for most citizens. The development of deeply polarized wealth and poverty has ultimately made the idea of ​​equal opportunity a subject of ridicule. Therefore, state intervention becomes more and more necessary in the interests of regulating private economic domination and presenting at least not fully developed, but still equal economic opportunities. As a result, many American politicians and political scientists began to realize that in the interests of freedom it is necessary to give up liberty a little in the interests of establishing equality of opportunity and providing minimum decent living conditions for all citizens.

This leap in American political thought from classical liberalism to welfare liberalism, or, as the Americans call it, static liberalism, was stimulated by the Great Depression of the 1930s, but gradually new liberals began to focus more on equality of results than on equality of opportunity.

Soon enough, the third crisis of liberalism in America began to mature, which falls in the 60s and 70s of the twentieth century. It is generated by a reaction to the crisis of rationalism in Europe and America, a negative attitude towards all values ​​of a liberal society. The ideas of this crisis are reflected in the work of Daniel Bell `The End of Ideology`. The main opponents of liberalism were postmodernism (Stephen White), political feminism (Nancy Frazer) and the philosophy of the Frankfurt school.

The political philosophy of the American scientist John Rawls (`The Theory of Justice`, 1971) was a response to the third crisis of liberalism in America. Rawls' ideas were supported by Michael Walzer, David Miller, Will Kymlicka, Brian Barry, and other scholars who have become classics of modern political philosophy.

Rawls's concept was based on the theory of justice developed by him. Rawls immediately confronted two enemies: utilitarianism and anti-rationalism. Utilitarianism, with its concept of the good as an increase in the sum of the welfare of society, regardless of the uniformity of its distribution in society, did not suit Rawls. Rawls, back in 1971, practically predicted the Reagan course, which in turn was an adequate response to the crisis of liberalism. Reagan's policy, as you know, is neo-conservatism: a narrowing of social programs, the marketization of society, a decrease in the regulatory role of the state, an emphasis on national American values.

But Rawls also spoke out against anti-rationalism, for the restoration of the ideas of the social contract. For Rawls, justice is an end in itself. Rawls revives social contract theories by bringing to the fore its technocratic, procedural side. The Rawls social contract is a "starting position", a state of rational choice of the principles of justice. The latter is interpreted by him as honesty. The principles of fairness as fairness are developed in the initial situation when a "veil of ignorance" is thrown on the participants. No one knows either their position in society, or their natural gifts, and, therefore, no one is able to tailor principles to gain advantages in their favor - Rawles J. A. Theory of Justice. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1971. [writes Rawls.] P. 74-75, 102.

For Rawls, society is a cooperative enterprise for mutual benefit, and justice is an intellectual construct. He believes that social cooperation is impossible without the principles of justice chosen by people.

He believes, to which W. Kimlik draws attention, that it is undeservedly benefiting from one's natural abilities, but it should not be considered unflattering to allow such benefits when they work for the benefit of those who turned out to be less fortunate in the natural lottery. This principle can be called the principle of differentiation. According to Rawls, social inequalities should be compensated for, and natural inequalities should not affect the distribution of benefits. Rawls' conclusion is also important that the more fortunate should receive additional resources only on the condition that it benefits the less fortunate.

Rawls' theory of justice is the first step in the renewal of the liberal tradition. The second stage is the theories of Will Kimliki, Barry. Note again that Rawls focuses on the right, not the good. His concept thus approaches the classical liberal concept.

For a different approach to criticism See: Will Kimlick. Liberal [anti-rationalism, then communitarianism became equality. In the book: Modern liberalism: Rawls, Berlin, Dvorkin, Kimlika,. Among his] Sandel, Taylor, Waldron. Translated. from English - M., 1998. S. 147. representatives include McIntire, Charles Taylor, J. Raz, Etzioni. Communitarianism, comprehending the problem of the sources of building society, asks the question: what is the initial-abstract competition of an individual with another individual under the conditions of an `initial state`

Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: June 11th, 2021
Articles Posted: 5

More by this author