True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice. Martin Luther King, Jr. Two dangers constantly threaten the world: order and disorder. Paul Valéry An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. Victor Hugo Henceforth, our country should be the universe. Flora Tristan *

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Theories of Global Governance
A Study in the History of Ideas

Abstract global theories are built upon the assumption that the creation of a world community is reducible to a simple choice between the existing international arrangements and an ideal universal order held together in some predetermined structure. The inhuman quality of such speculation is revealed by the way that they terminate in imperatives addressed to the will. Reducing reason to the comprehension of the universal, they leave no room for any further concrete reflection on the essentials of a good common life.

The central mistake of these speculative abstractions is their supposition that a teleology of human flourishing can be derived from timeless symmetries. They fail to see that the future good of the world will depend upon a more concrete understanding of the power and range of human reason. As the proximate measure of human acts, reason has the capacity to pass beyond ideal preferences and reach aspects of the good that are embedded in the more mundane and fragmentary aspects of incarnate existence. The exercise of these abilities requires an awareness of extra-mental realities which is incompatible with the premises of idealism. By concentrating upon the immanent development of consciousness, pure thought limits the mind to a conversation with itself. It assumes that nothing further is to be discovered because all has already been conceived. Thus it misses the meanings which can be discovered outside the self within the working of experience.

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Theories of Global Governance

EN 109p.




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