Matt and all,
Again, apologies for this tardy response. I have bad karma with
yahoogroups and have not been recieving postings until today.
Matt, your posting below brought to my mind Maslow's hierarchy of
needs. A sense of material security is a more fundamental (and
perhaps powerful) need than a sense of a self-actualizing community,
which is a very high-level need.
So, perhaps it's not a lack of c.r. in the society you mention that
stands in the way of a wish to adopt democracy; perhaps it's an
awareness of the precariousness of their existence.
Also (and I'm not sure if Habermas spells this out), to desire true
democracy a people must have a significant fraction who have
achieved Kohlberg's stage of post-conventional morality. Without
this, they won't recognize authoritarian government as a problem,
Here, in the US we have a majority who have only achieved the level
of conventional morality, and therefore the authoritarian regime now
in power doesn't worry them. Right after 9/11, even the post-
conventional minority regressed psychologically back to desiring a
strong father to make the world safe.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, "Matthew Piscioneri"
> to pick up aspects of your post that also -- coincidentally --
> to Gary's latest post. I applaud your evenhanded approach here:
> > I don't think that we Westerners have the right to expect others
> > change to become like us. But, as Habermas says, the reason
> > in spoken language is common to all cultures. Discourse with
> > cultures will foster a process of self-reflection that doesn't
> > to be a neo-colonization by the West. They will be able to
> > consciously decide what to integrate from the West; they will
> > more options not fewer. The only options taken away are the ones
> > requiring ignorance.
> Interestingly, recently I had a long conversation with a [young]
> person from a newly democratizing (and predominantly Islamic)
> We touched on issues to do with the value of democracy and its
> viability and validity in this person's country.
> She was ambivalent about transposing a western model of democracy
> democratic culture onto the socio-political lifeworld of her
> On the one hand, a freer media appeared welcome as was greater
> tolerance of alternative political parties. However, there seemed
> be a yearning for a more autocratic political structure that in
> past had generated greater economic prosperity. Indeed, one
> she had was that democratization had diminished sovereignty,
> especially in the financial-economic sphere.
> Firstly, this made me question again the extent to which
> is a universally applicable model of social governance. To a
> extent, i think this point needs careful reflection:
> > But, as Habermas says, the reason inherent
> > in spoken language is common to all cultures.
> I can't quite articulate my intuitions on this one, but there
> to be other factors in certain cultures (as there once were in the
> Occidental tradition) that *overpower* the communicative reason
> invested in language. Moreover, in light of the contingency of
> communicative reason's sway over c.r lifeworlds, it suggests to me
> that these factors remain as potent potentials everywhere. Indeed,
> TCA2 precisely focuses on the erosion of communicative reason at
> hands of a functionalist reason out of control. So whilst c.r
> there in all dialogical language practice, it's not necessarily
> able to assert itself.
> There probably need to be more hybrid political systems evolve, as
> >They will be able to
> >consciously decide what to integrate from the West
> one last point:
> I think we also have to be careful not to conflate democracy with
> Judaeo-Christian heritage in an inverted way so that the
> of democratic values does not automatically entail the affirmation
> the J-C religious/moral tradition.