What’s Wrong With A World State

Posted: 12 June 2015

Timothy Burns, Baylor University

The following is the transcript of a presentation given by Timothy Burns at Hiram College in an exchange with Alexander Wendt. Wendt’s piece can be found on The World Orders Forum's articles page. 

I’d like to extend my thanks to Hiram College, to the Garfield Institute, to James Thompson its director, and to my dear friend John Koritansky, its founder. I had the good fortune to teach here for a few semesters many years ago and it is always a great pleasure for me to return and see friendly faces. I also want to thank Dr. Wendt for directing our attention to the question confronting us this afternoon, one that should both grip our souls and help direct our disposition toward domestic and international politics.

I want to begin my remarks with a reminder of our good fortune in being citizens of the United States, which remains engaged in world affairs as a powerful, benign leader. Our nation’s activity on the world stage sometimes evokes from our European friends the disdainful epitaph “cowboys,” suggesting that our military campaigns are something we must and will outgrow, just as Europeans have outgrown their own barbaric past and now use “soft power”—which is something like pillows thrown at a pajama party.

We do sometimes foolishly neglect the sentiments and opinions of our weaker and needier friends, like the Europeans or South Koreans, forgetting that they cannot but resent over time their position as the assisted, that it rankles to have American forces saving them year after year from their enemies—regardless of how farsighted or patient American hegemony might be. Our friends seek self-respect and therefore their own place in the sun, which, truth be told, we must soon grant them. This is something about which Dr.Wendt and I share some ground. But while Wendt wishes them and us and everyone else to surrender to a world state, I’d prefer that our friends stand tall, like us, on their own two feet. I want to stress, in any event, that we Americans do not yet have direct experience of a world in which our activity in international affairs is no longer necessary or possible, a world without states.

Lacking that experience, we can the more easily be lured by the siren call of a world state. It is the harder to resist inasmuch as many of us have been primed to hear it for a good part of our lives. A vast training establishment, from Unicef boxes for six-year-old Trick-Or-Treaters to Model UN for undergraduates at American colleges, encourages us to become good “World Citizens,” and to think that it is correct to lend support and devotion to the United Nations, that harbinger of the World State. Much of this talk of world citizenship in higher education is of course merely window dressing; it tells administrators and faculty at other colleges that one’s own college is hip and worthy of recognition rather than scolding for being reactionary. (For scoldings are the alternative to “recognition.”) But the “world citizenship” aspiration of colleges is, for all of that, quite real, and telling. When, after all, was the last time you saw its alternative proclaimed at a college or university? A college mission statement that claimed to make its students patriotic? That claimed to make them good American citizens? The love of your particular fatherland is now counted a sin on college campuses. It is mentioned only to be denounced as jingoistic, parochial, or the last refuge of scoundrels. To be an “idealist” is, we are told,to be committed to goals that culminate in a world state.

But no serious person adheres to what is trendy just because it is trendy, nor does a self-respecting person bow to an opinion because it is held by elites. I inviteyou to question elite opinionon this matter, to question the wisdom of those who are animated by hostility to the nation state—the political form that has, after all, given us the means to equality and liberty, to liberal politics. I will argue that to abandon the nation state, in disgust and blame, is a mistake, one that will lead to soulless despotism.

Dr. Wendt argues, first, that the world state is inevitable. The empirical evidence does not support this claim, but we are not here to argue about that claim today. There is of course an empirically verifiable movement toward a certain type of world state: under a new caliphate. This kind of world state is the dream of our enemies, the Islamicists. But Dr. Wendt imagines a secular world state, with perhaps some regional representation and certainly a secular world court. He imagines the European Union writ large. Now, should there be such a world state? That is, should it be an object of our prayers and our efforts? That is our question today.

I say, and I say emphatically, no. What are the reasons for my opposition? Let me start with what is at once the simplest and the deepest or most comprehensive. In June 1940, with France defeated by Hitler’s forces, Winston Churchill faced the daunting task of preparing the English people for the battle of Britain, in which, as he put it “the whole fury and might” of the enemy, Hitler, would be turned upon them. On that occasion Churchill made the following statement: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.” Ladies and gentlemen: should a world state come into being, there will be no more such finest hours. There will be no opportunity for such deeds, for answering the call of duty on behalf of your fatherland in a bracing battle with a dreadful enemy. That is indeed the meaning of the world state: no enemies and no friends, no deep hatreds because no deep loves, nothing to which one could devote oneself, or to be prepared to sacrifice oneself. There is to be nothing to kill or die for; this is what Wendt, following John Lennon, wishes.

* * * * *

The case for the world state islong standing, and for just as long it has elicited opposition and dread. It was seriously contemplated already by the late 18th century, when Kant had to oppose it. Espying it from afar, that century’s greatest minds were unsettled. Montesquieu, who more than anyone convinced the West of the desirability of homogenizing all human mores and laws through commerce, wrote with a visiblesadness about modernity’s arrival. He looked back to the small Greek and Roman republicsand their virtue with admiration: “When that virtue was in full force,” he said,“things were done in those governments that we no longer see, and that astonish our small souls.” Rousseau, otherwise the great opponent of Montesquieu, gave this sentiment of disgust with the commercially homogenized modern soul and admiration for the ancient republic its fullest expression, so that by 1816 even Montesquieu’s great student, Benjamin Constant, a great progressive proponent of modern liberty and homogeneity, was compelled to echo his teacher’s sentiment even more loudly:

One could not read the beautiful pages of antiquity, [says Constant] one could not recall the actions of its great men, without feeling an indefinable and special emotion, which nothing modern can possibly arouse. The old elements of a nature, one could almost say, earlier than our own, seem to awaken in us in the face of these memories. It is difficult not to regret the loss of a time when the faculties of man developed…in so wide a career, so strong in their own powers, with such a feeling of energy and dignity. Once we abandon ourselves to this regret, it is impossible not to wish to emulate what we regret.

But the deepest expressions of anguish at diminishing human greatness in the coming world state were those of Friedrich Nietzsche, whose unforgettable description of the last man must haunt the heart of anyone who cannot rest content with egalitarian sneering, resentments, and entertainments. Nietzsche attributed the desire for mutual reciprocal recognition to the slave morality. By this attribution he hoped to question equality as an end that is not universally just but that is instead merely the created value of a cunning, resentful will to power, one that threatens to enervate and destroy deep human longing. He opposed the modern philosophic-political project that had resulted in capitalist democracy, on one hand, and communism, on the other. That project, precisely as a progressive project,still poses a very great political danger to which the academic left is constitutionally blind. I shall call that danger progressivism’s forgetting of humanity. Progressivism is a product of modern political philosophy; Hegel makes the strongest argument for it of which I am aware, and Dr. Wendt wisely chooses to revert to Hegel’s argument.Let me say a word about it.

Hegel’s philosophy of History is the mother of all Western meta-narratives, chronicling and explaining the triumph of rational self-consciousness over more primitive human consciousness. Hegel presents “the desire for recognition” as moving a long historical, dialectical relation with the Other. I stress that for Hegel, the doctrine of recognition is non-transcendent; it offers an atheistic account of what had hitherto been understood as a desire for transcendent or divine meaning. Through history we come finally to realize that there is nothing looming above the human that calls us to transcend the human, but instead only mutual reciprocal recognition, grasped in inter-subjective certainty.

In 1806 Hegel was able sincerely to re-interpret, as if he were a fully rational and self-conscious mortal god, the literature and thought and political life of every previous (more or less “primitive”) historical culture or society. He could say, in effect, “yes, that is what these and these poets, thinkers, philosophers, artisans and political actors have said, but we, whose consciousness has progressed, can see that they said it within the limiting horizon of their time; their consciousness was backward, not fully developed. We know now what they were really aiming at, what they would have said, had they been born and lived at the end of the human drama, as we do.” Hegelian thought exercises in this way a paternalistic despotism over the thought of the past, prohibiting it from disclosing itself as it is. It pretends to understand past thinkers and actors betterthan they understood themselves.

Contemporary Hegelians who study international relations makethe same despoticdistortions, but of the thoughts and words of humans living in the present, of humans who see Hegelian modernity first hand and who reject it. I refer to what IR Hegelians like Irm Haleem say about Islamicists. They see and hear only “the desire for recognition” in every and any statement and act of Islamicists, and so must explain away every clear Islamicist argument against democracy, freedom, and modernity. Even Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s speeches are magically transformed into statements about “autonomy of the self” or “identity formation” achieved through “mutual reciprocal recognition.”Such despotism of interpretation may be fit grist for Monty Python’s mill, but it is a dangerous distortion that no serious student of international relations should accept.
But these are by no means the only ways in which Hegelian progressivism has shown itself to be despotic. I am compelled to remind you that certain left wing Hegelians, called Marxists, had as their goal a world state, or—what amounts to the same thing—a stateless world society. Marxists aimed to build “the new Man” in the Soviet Union. The result was, among other horrors, the execution of tens of millions of human beings, on purely political grounds. Progressives like to tell themselves that this gruesome progressive Marxist tyranny was “Russian,” that Stalin was just a throw back to Ivan the Terrible. But then what of Mao Tse Tung and his murderous progressive Marxist tyranny in China? Millions were put to death, dying in forced re-education camps during the “Great Leap Forward” and millions more in that putrid unleashing of fanatical, deracinated progressive youth, the “Cultural Revolution.” Then there’s Pol Pot, another Marxist progressive genocidal killer. And these are only the most famous. Hegelian progressives would prefer that you ignore the pattern of progressivist political despotism that they established. During the Cold War, in fact, progressive Sovietologists routinely lied about them. Jerry Hough of Princeton falsely declared in 1983, for example, that only 10,000 people died at Stalin’s orders.

Still, one could argue, were not Stalinism and Maoism the sad aberrations of psychotic humans rather than the results of Marxism? That plea cannot account for the fact that the Soviet Union continued long after Stalin to exercise an inhuman and monstrously dishonest tyranny. In truth, as Martin Malia has shown, Soviet totalitarian tyranny was causedby the Marxist doctrine of the progressive consciousness of humanity and hence of the leading role of the communist party. This notion of superior historical consciousness, bywhich Marx himself dismissed his critics, has been employed by every Marxist regime that has ever come into existence to justify the brutal crushing of dissent as the product of “backward” consciousness.

“But,” say the Hegelian proponents of the future world state, “we will have checks! Institutions!” This reply forgets that institutions are staffed by human beings, and work well only with educated human beings. And here we begin to get to the heart of the problem. The world state cannot educate human beings. It may, to be sure, give us training programs, perhaps even good ones here and there. But training is not education. The guards at Auschwitz were well trained. A world state can give us very good, very efficient training, but it cannot provide the education that human beings need to live free lives.

* * * * *

Why not? Why is the progressive world state bound ever to fail in this, and so to produce what Kant called a soulless despotism? The short answer is that the world state stands against what is needed for the cultivation of the moral habits needed for free human lives. Admiration and love of what is high or noble, so necessary to such cultivation, extends outward from the family to the tribe and city and nation. For it is only sacred traditions,wholeheartedly embraced and sternly upheld, that can form a heart ready to stand foursquare for justice, moderation, prudence, and courage rather than one fanatically devoted to an ideology. It is a national heritage ingrained through habit and custom, like an accent or dialect, that tones one’s ear to the high call of honesty, generosity, courage, discretion, generous wit, prudence, perseverance, reverence of divinity, deference to genuine superiority, and defiance of despotism. But progressives stand against tradition, which they would either cruelly burn or coldly place in a museum. So the progressive Hegelian Karl Marx speaks of the rescuing of whole populations from the idiocy of rural life, writes off his opponents by declaring that their very ideas to be but the outmoded product of their bourgeois modes of production, and speaks of religious faith as the equivalent of a snakeskin, to be shed by an enlightened humanity. When progressives condescend to address an opponent, it is most often to cluck, “no one believes that anymore.” As Nietzsche observes of the progressive last men, they make no end of derision.

Nietzsche’s great student Martin Heidegger has supplied us with the deepest reasons to feel very uneasy about the prospect of the progressives’ universal and homogeneous state. Permit me to sketch very crudely the most salient aspects of Heidegger’s far-reaching questioning of the attempt to remake the given world that culminates in the cosmopolitan world state. Heidegger argues that this attempt has been dehumanizing because it has deprived us of the deepest experiences of our souls, by closing us off from what isvenerable in human life, around which all else in our existence evolves. These venerable things consist of devotional obligations, virtues, things of beauty and nobility, gods, model individuals, and thick, communal ways of life that are the diverse manifestations of elusive, historical Being. In its diverse manifestations, Being allows merely existing entities to become meaningful, by evoking our reverence and love. But then the irresistibly moving experiences of Being can be grasped only in or through experiences rooted in one or another sacred tradition, none of which is authoritative for others and all of which are essentially in conflict and evoke conflict or struggle. Genuine human understanding, by this account, is not universal but always perspectival, committed, engaged. It is embedded in this or that particularway of life. And it is emphatically not atheistic or secular, but devout.

This Heideggerian understanding sees the Hegelian claim of trans-historical detachment as shallow, and sees reason’s attempt to demand fixed or universal standards of justice (like “reciprocal recognition”) as corrosive of the deep diverse faiths that support genuine and competing standards of justice and moral judgment. It views the world state’s stress on tolerance and openness as symptomatic of the loss of devotion and dedication in life. The modern rationalismon which the Hegelian world state rests relentlessly reduces all things, including the human things, to what is common or homogeneous. A cosmopolitan world state, which attempts to orient human life by hopes for peace and agreement rooted in permanence and universality, prosperity and an end of suffering through technological ‘conquest of nature,’ comes to sight nownot as genuinely human, but instead as aflight from the fundamental experience that is the clue to Being. That experience is awareness of our exposed mortality, and the moral seriousness and resoluteness that comes with that awareness. That experience therefore stands in resolute opposition to the progressive Hegelian rationalism that would bring about the world state. It stands opposed to the spiritually impoverished, atomized life that results from being guided by ever-increasing litany of alleged universal individual rights and the procedural rationality that accompanies it. It calls, in short, for a renewed openness to the divine, in its strange, uncanny manifestations.

But perhaps Heidegger is a bit too rich, too Nordic, for our American tastes. Perhaps he is merely, as Richard Rorty called him, a Schwarzwald redneck. So let me try to state the argument in a manner more immediately intelligible to us Americans. We govern ourselves as a peoplewith a shared sense of the common good and of the virtues we admire in friends and neighbors and that we would hope to inculcate in our children. Our nation and the education it affords us calls us to look up to, admire, and revere what is above us, that by which we order our devotions, our commitments, our daily lives in their preparations and labors as well as in their moments of leisure. There is no human substitute for this reverence or the traditional virtues it promotes; they are the bedrock of a healthy and vibrant national civilization, the qualities of soul manifest every day in the activities of its adult citizens, who are taught to admire and emulate these virtues through distribution of honors and of goods in accordance with desert. Reverence for virtues, and a corresponding contempt or disgust for vice, are even the hallmarks of any healthy civilization. One may also say that what characterizes such a civilization is the cultivation of the conscience, which causes the citizen to stand in fear and trembling of wrongdoing.

The characteristics of the civilization of a world state would be quite different. It does not foster but fears loyalty to any deeply held or unbending notions of virtue and vice because such loyalty is at odds both with peace among peoples and reciprocal recognition. The world state, because it will try to comprise many nations, must in truth wipe out their virtues, in the name of that progressive vision of humanity in whose name it acts. It aims to destroy reverence for particular traditions, in favor of a new collectivized humanity. The world state therefore does not increase our ability to govern ourselves, but diminishes it.

This is nowhere more manifest today than in the EU. Dr. Wendt points to the EU as if it were an utterly unproblematic model for the world—as if Pierre Manent had not written devastating critiques of the EU and its attempted destruction of the kind of self government that was once found among Europe’s nation states. As Jakub Grygiel has also recently reminded us, the EU is “a project administered by a classe dirigente. It is a government by regulation, often of the minutiae of daily life,” one that is slowly restricting freedom of speech, in the name of mutual reciprocal recognition. If the EU is any guide, the world state will be governed by bureaucrats eager to deprive us of self-government.

From here we can better understand Kant’s argument, in Perpetual Peace, that the administration of the world state is bound to be or become a despotism. As Dr. Wendt has reminded us, Kant called, famously, for a federation of states. But Kant vigorously opposed the strengthening of that federation into a world state. In fact he found the condition of independently existing, neighboring states not in a league—a condition that he called, after Hobbes, a “state of war”—to be preferable to a world state. A world state would, he argued, end “in one universal monarchy, and laws always lose in vigor what government gains in extent; hence a soulless despotism falls into anarchy after stifling the seeds of the good.” Dr. Wendt slights this argument. He notes that Kant “rejected aworld state in part because the technology of his day precluded it.” But technology is no answer to the problem to which Kant points. Technology can increase communication across distances, to be sure, but “communication does not produce community.” The deepest objection Kant raises to the world state is the prospect of despotism through a people’s loss of its self-rule, a prospect that would be not diminished but increased by technology.

Let me go further. The soulless despotism to which Kant referred will use the chilling, value-free jargon of contemporary social science of the sort that Dr. Wendt uses.Once upon a time political scientists spoke, just as citizens speak, of the political community meting out honors and punishments in accord with who deserves them. Dr. Wendt instead speaks as follows: “States are homeostatic systems that exert downward causation on their members. This causation ‘disciplines’ people to stay within the boundary conditions ofthe state most of the time of their own accord, and authorizes violence by state agents when they don’t.” He speaks similarly of the state’s “suppression of destabilizing interactions at the micro-level.” That is the techno-speak of the future ruling class. But just what are these “destabilizing interactions” that the world state would have to suppress, even by violence? Ladies and gentlemen, we aren’t just talking about crime or criminals. And we aren’t just talking about use of the wrong kind of light bulbs or shower heads— though even decisions about these will be made by world state elites without our input or consent. We are talking about actions and dispositions deemed non-politically correct. For the world state will not be like the old empires, which didn’t care about subjects and left them more or less alone so long as they bowed when the emperor passed by. The world state will be a state whose very raison d’être is the guaranteeing of human autonomy and mutual reciprocal recognition, for the sake of every individual’s “identity” and equal “human rights.” Such a state is a substitute for representative government in a nation state. The “recognition” that the world state secures will be relegated by it to the status of a static formal principle, legislated not through an active expression in self-government by a people, but merely by a distant ruling elite far away, though enforced by local gendarmes. This ruling elite must, to guarantee what Went calls “identity formation,” eventually seek to eliminate all “thick” communities, all genuine, robust communities of the type that claim to transcend the individual and that call the individual to vocations, make noble demands upon him, like those once found in families and neighborhoods and parishes villages and cities and modern nations. The ruling elite of the world state will instead promote identity formation, in transitory encounters with anonymous others.

This is what we have to look forward to. The world state’s progressive elite will move, as liberal states are already moving, to eliminate thick communities by eliminating all “discrimination” in the private sphere as well as the public sphere. It will, that is, slowly but necessarily cease to be liberal, free. To permit the construction of identities, it will have to declare the defining characteristic of liberalism, the distinction between the state and society, anachronistic and oppressive, because too permissive of disrespect in private life. It will recognize more and more “protected groups” within society, and it will have laws proscribing “hate crimes,” that is, crimes whose motives are deemed worse than other motives because they entail a failure to reciprocally recognize “the other.” The world state will, that is, attempt to peer into your soul, so that it can empty it out; to secure mutual reciprocal recognitionits ruling elite will have to follow your every action. With the advance of technology the apparatuses it will employ to monitor your private life will make the KGB and the Gestapo look like amateurs. And its scrutiny will be endless, since the more a society approaches equality in all things, the more the very smallest inequalities rankle.

Does this sound far fetched? Glance around you. It is a development that is already proceeding apace in advanced democracies, where world citizenship is most loudly trumpeted. Great Britain prohibits any “abusive or insulting words” meant “to stir up racial hatred.” Canada outlaws “any writing, sign or visible representation” that “incites hatred against any identifiable group.” A New Mexico Supreme Court decision last yearstated that requiring a couple to relinquish their religious convictions was permissible as “the price of citizenship.” That will indeed be the price of citizenship in the world state based on the principle of mutual reciprocal recognition: a loss of your freedom to think, believe, and freely act in accord with anything other than what elite opinion tells you is correct. It will mean the end of the distinction between the state and society, and so the end of the liberal state. That is a price too high.

Listen carefully to how the proponents of the progressive Hegelian world state speak. You will hear modern psychological terms like “the superego” replace the term “conscience.” You will hear of social construction of right and wrong and hence of the needed removal of most injunctions to duty that carry with them a sense of guilt. In the name of the billions of autonomous individuals it serves and their opportunity to gratify their passions without “oppression,” the progressive world state will seek for its citizens liberation from guilt, just as it seeks an end to “punishment,” above all capital punishment, on the ground that it is no more than an expression of irrational vengeance. It will, to be sure, incarcerate and even subject to psychological re-training whoever opposes it, but it will do so as “re-education” of men suffering from various “phobias” or “psychoses.” Dr. Wendt, in any event, goes beyond even those who oppose the death penalty. He is opposed to the taking of human life, even in legitimate self-defense. He suggests that the state descends to a primitive level of consciousness when it ceases to recognize the worth of other states and their citizens. He would have us protect the murderer and enemy of the citizens; he would ensure that neither soldiers nor criminals will any longer risk their lives for anything.

While claiming to be the victory of the universal, of humanity, the Hegelian world state would in truth represent the victory of only a part of humanity. Equality is its watchword, and it is guided by a hatred of the rank ordering that characterizes any devotion to excellence or virtue. It would represent not a genuinely universal morality but instead the elimination of one side of humanity for the sake of another. Far from being “rational,” its new centralized order will reflect the deep-seated resentments of those who would crush the excellences that ever embarrass them. Its drift will be toward socialism, a world of enforced equality of production and consumption and hence one that affords little freedom for the individual to fail or, therefore, to succeed. This is Dr. Wendt’s position. He admits that human beings may “recognize” another as their superior. But he attributes this disposition to being poorly “socialized.” But Wendt is mistaken;the elite’s belief in equality is result of what Dr. Wendt calls “socializing.” Admiration of actual superiority, including one’s own,naturally trumps peace, especially if one belongs to what Lincoln called the tribe of the eagle.

Let me in closing anticipate an objection to my concern that the Hegelian world state will bring us despotic egalitarian homogeneity. Individuals and groups, Dr. Wendt tells us, seek recognition of difference, not sameness: “…groups entering into a larger collective identity want their ‘difference’ recognized. Universalism…depends on recognition of particularism.”Dr. Wendt thus trumpets the “right of difference.” If you like your identity, you can keep your identity. But this is hardly credible. Any differences that remain in the world state will be about as significant as flavors of ice cream. Of course we can easily welcome and combine and reconcile such differences, just as we can arrange window dressings and costumes for tourists. For if we are honest with ourselves, we must grant that “differences” under a world state will be shadows of what had been vigorous ways of life, no longer the object of sacrifice and struggle. Such ways of life are precisely what the Hegelian historical dialectic has been busy negating. As Alexandre Kojève reminds us,universalism must begin with recognition not of particularism but of sameness, of homogeneity. And this is only common sense. Mutual reciprocal recognition entails the abandonment of all particular, devotional ways of life, which failed to grant the required recognition to the others. Each went to war with the other, rather than be directed by the other. Each must now die.

The death of the old ways of life is to be carried out by rendering them into what Wendt calls “group identities” or “cultures,” terms that usher in the world state’s way of thinking. “Identities,” after all, result from the exercise of subjective freedom by the autonomous self. Identities are something that you construct as it suits you, from whatever materials you choose. Identity privileges personal choice. To speak of identity is necessarily to imply that no way of life is better than another. The world state that speaks the language of identity formation therefore cannot brook what in the past was called metanoia, “conversion,” or reorientation of one’s soul by dint of a calling—a thoroughgoing change of mind. To convert is to say: “I abandon my mistaken path for the right way.” The world state will therefore have to stamp out the notion of conversion. By enjoining absolute respect for constructed “identities” the proponents of the world state join hands, as Pierre Manent has pointed out, with religious fundamentalists who punish apostasy with death.

* * * * *

I hope, in conclusion, that I have not given the impression that the world state is an unrealistic dream. Like the hoped for Marxist society of consumers and producers, the world state is an all too realistic nightmare. My hope is that some of you share my desire to stop this nightmare from unfolding—that you willfight it,civilly, but with everything you’ve got. Preserve for your future countrymen the very possibility of finest hours: that today is yourgreat opportunity to make this your finest hour.

[1] “The EU is already not far from meeting these [stated] requirements on a regional level. Were a ‘completed’ EU-like structure to beglobalized it would be a world state.” Alexander Wendt, “Why A World State Is Inevitable: Teleology and the Logic of Anarchy” European Journal of International Relations, December 2003. Accessible at www.civitatis.org as Civitatis Paper of the Month, No. 4, May 2004, p. 24.

[2] Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws, 4.4-6, emphasis added.

[3] Benjamin Constant, “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared With That of the Moderns.”

[4] I have relied in this section on Nietzsche’s argument in the Genealogy of Morals, in which Nietzsche explains what he means by a master morality and a slave morality. But the reader should know that since Wendt, in the note to his claim about Nietzsche (note 60), makes no reference at all to any of Nietzsche’s works, merely noting that neorealism would be by Nietzsche’s lights an instance of “slave morality,” it is impossible to know which of Nietzsche’s writings, if any, he has in mind.

[5] See for example Irm Haleem, The Essence of Islamist Extremism: Recognition through Violence, Freedom through Death (New York: Routledge, 2012).

[6] Here is one example from a 2005 speech of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology…for Americans have tampered with the minds of several people with the lie of civilized democracy, creating an illusion for them that their happiness and prosperity depend on this man-made and modern path.

Zarqawi goes on to criticize popular sovereignty and democratic legislative power as blasphemous; religious toleration as a capital crime; freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, party government, and trial by jury as contravening Islamic law. Above all, he declares that “[d]emocracy is based on the separation between the state and the religion, which contradicts the principles of Islam that is a religion and a Law.”

[7]  See “To The Stalin Mausoleum,” by “Z.” Daedalus, volume 199, no. 1 (Winter, 1990), 295-344.

[8] See e.g., Martin Malia, Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, Free Press 1995; Li Zhisui, The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Random House 1996; Frank Dikötter, Mao's Great Famine: the History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe. Walker & Company, 2010.

[9] For this brief summary of Heidegger’s position I am very much indebted to Thomas Pangle, The Ennobling of Democracy: The Challenge of The Postmodern Era (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press Series in Constitutional Thought, 1992), ch. 2.

[10] “Education for National Security,” Orbis, Spring 2013, 205.

[11]“Religious critics in France, Britain, Italy and other countries have found themselves under criminal investigation as threats to public safety. In France, actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been fined several times for comments about how Muslims are undermining French culture… In Britain,…a 15-year-old girl was arrested two years ago for burning a Koran….“Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech,” Jonathan Turley. The Washington Post, October 12, 2012.

[12] Kant, Perpetual Peace, First Supplement, par. 2. Translated and edited by Lewis White Beck in Kant: On History (Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, LLA, 1963), 113.

[13]Wendt similarly claims that technology will make war a far too costly enterprise to continue as Hegel envisioned it would. Here again Wendt is slighting the argument of the thinker he cites. Hegel calls for war as something needed for the moral rejuvenation of human beings. Wendt appears to be utterly indifferent to this.

[14] Pierre Manent, Democracy Without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe. Paul Seton, translator (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2007), 28.

[15] Wendt, 35.

[16] Pierre Manent, Democracy Without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe. Paul Seton, translator (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2007), 38.

[17] “Bake Us a Cake, or Else!” by Ryan T. Anderson & Leslie Ford. National Review, Feb. 18, 2014.

[18] See Pierre Manent’s discussion of the death penalty as a telling gauge of the death of the political in Democracy Without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe. Paul Seton, translator (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2007), 18ff.

[19] Wendt, 35.

[20] See Pierre Manent, Democracy Without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe. Paul Seton, translator (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2007), 28.

[21] See Pierre Manent,Democracy Without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe. Paul Seton, translator (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2007), 80.

[22] Pierre Manent, Democracy Without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe. Paul Seton, translator (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2007), 8-9.

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