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Common Good Constitutionalism and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy

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BAROŠ Jiří

Rok publikování 2018
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Citace
Popis As Sheldon Wolin reminds us, political theory “constitutes a form of seeing political phenomena and that the way in which the phenomena will be visualized depends in large measure on where the viewer stands.” I would like to look at the current crisis of the CER from an illiberal, but still constitutionalist, and democratic point of view. In my opinion, what is missing in our discussions about the roots of the crisis of Central European countries is critical evaluation of the adjective “liberal” in the compound “liberal democracy.” Still, in the last few years, many notable (political) thinkers have raised doubts about the sustainability of liberalism for democratic political regimes. In its first part, my paper develops an adequate concept of the common good by summarizing two main discussions on it. The first discussion concerns Thomist philosophers Maritain and De Koninck. The second discussion, spurred by the so-called instrumentalist conception of common good proposed by Finnis, is still ongoing. Still, I argue that the distinctive (vs. instrumentalist and aggregative) conception of common good is the most convincing one. These two discussions lead me to rethink the implications of the term common good for constitutionalism. In its second part, the paper endeavours to look upon the crisis of contemporary CER through the prism of common good constitutionalism. Firstly, it dismisses the collective conception of common good propounded by pre-democratic communist regimes. Secondly, it presents the liberal turn after the breakdown of the communist regimes in its contradistinction to the dissident discourse emphasizing civic action in favor of the common good, however inadequately theorized. Still, not experiencing the material rewards of liberalism, many people can feel alienated by liberalism, and this “liberal void” is, in the end, exploited by populists. However, common good constitutionalism does not dismiss the constitutionalist institutions of CER. Thirdly, the paper argues that the communitarian, or (more properly) populist constitutionalism of CER can hardly be the solution, given its distortion of the common good through its divisiveness and the vacuity of its understanding of the people´s will. Still, the article maintains that criticism of the “liberal” period, underestimating such concepts as common good and common action, is an honest step to take.
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