Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Justice- Class 8


Why Nationalism (Ch 1,6,7)- Yale Tamir
Ch 1 : The New Nationalism

Nationalism being on the rise everywhere is surprising. Liberals believed that their century (starting from 1945) would see the end of wars, spread of reason, beginning of new enlightenment- Endless economic growth, expanding opportunities, ongoing increase in well-being.

Trump-Brexit-Le Pen could  have gone either way. No, says the author. They are symptoms of a deeper malaise.

My thought: Major shocks have us question the structures we inhabit. They have us ask why the structure shook or collapsed. Until that happens, we don't bother to enquire; We are preoccupied with different concerns. But that is not a bug of the system, its a feature. We built those structures precisely so that we could stop thinking about them. Then why do so many pundits who're dissecting the reasons for failure come after the elites/ leaders for 'missing' the warning signs and not acting in time? Admittedly, they misjudged the signs or were too distracted. However, what about the crises they averted by doing what they were doing? Not only does it mean that they're never congratulated for averting crises we don't see (I wonder how incentive structures work with this? If I see that I'm only noticed when I'm seen resolving a crisis, I'm going to make sure that everything I do will come off as courageous firefighting), they will never technically win because we always compare them to a could've-been-better-world.

Paused on page 5

Notes from class:

Partial attachments and political theory.

Assignment: 300-500 word essay that suggests or critically examines-
i. a conceptual dilemma that you encounter or
ii. propose a particular policy that will address what you think is important

-We took a particularly unusual stance to understand democracy better in our previous class

The role of partial attachments in justice
-One of the challenges of thinking about nationalism is that it is deeply entwined with our experience of modernity and democracy
-Democracy required that you configure yourself as a demos: who are we as people
-Power and sovereignty must be exercises in the name of people
-People are individuals and also a collective compact for each others' well-being

Ernest Gellner- "The political dilemma of modernity is that every ideology claims to be universal, but every postcard it sends is disguised with nationalism"
JS Mill- "If you're not part of a nation-state, you're a nobody"

3 questions:
1. Who gets to be a member of the nation? - Membership question
You can say that this question is not amenable to justice. You're converting the arbitrariness of birth to membership of your community.
2. We are a people because we claim a distinctiveness for themselves (language, religion etc.). Who has set the terms of this identity? - Identity question
Process of forming an identity is in itself a clash between competing identity arbitrary attributes.

Origins of Totalitarianism- "Universal ideology is a great idea but its doesn't protect you when you're being dispossessed".

Nationalism is the only modern ideology that deals with death, not communism or liberalism. In that sense, it is the only competition to religion. Dying for the nation or killing for the nation.
It is psychologically important- an antidote to cultural homelessness
Modern economy works around it

Modern nation-state vs empire
1. public education
2. voluntary army vs mercenaries
3. modern state percolate much more culturally

Not only ethno-national, even liberal nationalism is discriminatory.

Q: Ownership is a by-product of discrimination. Then is that justified?

Liberty: Political Freedom
Equality: Economic Freedom
Fraternity: Social Justice

Note to self: Read JNU Nationalism lectures

Q: The state should privilege the rights over identities.
I'm a good Indian when I uphold its constitution. But not everyone who upholds those values can become an Indian.

My question: What if the person in power changes the definition of what it means to be an Indian?

Edward Gibbon about Roman Empire- "All the philosophers thought that religion was false, all people thought it was true and all politicians thought it was useful"

"History is one thing, justice is another"

"History is a fool's paradise"- Gandhi

If you want to say medieval India about conflict, it is true. You want to say its about co-operation, it's true. This is not about facts. It's about what story you want to say. Those who want to say we've always been multi-cultural, will find relevant facts. Those who argue otherwise, will find relevant facts as well. If tomorrow you discover a document that thousands of temples have been destroyed, should that change the nature of modern India?

If the colonialists say that India didn't exist before, that's true for France or England as well. The nation-state is a particularly political form.

Nation vs Nation-state

1. An Australian minister used to quip that, "while we fully understand that first-generation immigrants cheer for sports teams from their country of origin, their Australian born kids should be screaming for Aussie teams". There is this idea that Chinese identity is almost like a qaum. Because I'm an outsider here, I clearly see that many white folks have a soft corner for Europe. It seems to me not much different to the attachment some Indians have for Hindus in Afghanistan than with other Indian Muslims. So where does the religion of religion end and the religion of nation begin?
2. How are we going to reconcile with the fact that more and more children are being born to parents of mixed heritage and live in sort of a rarefied abstract idea of a nation. Like how some Silicon Valley libertarians ask to be granted sovereignty. Are we seeing the expiry of the nation state as we know it?

Susan Okin- Is multiculturalism bad for women? - The demand for multiculturalism is a demand for partial jurisdiction.

Even if you are not a person who thinks culture and nation are tightly intertwined, the state still has to make choices about, say, what languages to use- for effects of scale and for mobility. Or Mumbai's Marathi culture is eroded by many immigrants. How, in that case, can justice be done?

One of the brilliant things about the idea of India is an extraordinary attempt to subvert the European premise
A national unit has a state attached to it

India as State-Nation- Linz, Stepan, Yadav

If India becomes rich and people don't have to migrate for work, then will we become more like the United States- Strong linguistic and territorial links.

Liberal stance : Let people have free choice and however that affects society is a consequence of that free choice. Any structural imposition is elitist. But is it possible to live in a truly egalitarian society and if not, why is it wrong if a well-intentioned, 'intelligent' person tries to improve a people's lot? Hang on, isn't that white saviour complex?

Relationship between identity and justice. 

The constitution is not a suicide pact.

No comments: