The Lure of Technocracy
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Over the past 25 years, Jürgen Habermas has presented what is arguably the most coherent and wide-ranging defence of the project of European unification and of parallel developments towards a politically integrated world society. In developing his key concepts of the transnationalisation of democracy and the constitutionalisation of international law, Habermas offers the main players in the struggles over the fate of the European Union (the politicians, the political parties and the publics of the member states) a way out of the current economic and political crisis, should they choose to follow it.
In the title essay Habermas addresses the challenges and threats posed by the current banking and public debt crisis in the Eurozone for European unification. He is harshly critical of the incrementalist, technocratic policies advocated by the German government in particular, which are being imposed at the expense of the populations of the economically weaker, crisis-stricken countries and are undermining solidarity between the member states. He argues that only if the technocratic approach is replaced by a deeper democratization of the European institutions can the European Union fulfil its promise as a model for how rampant market capitalism can once again be brought under political control at the supranational level.
This volume reflects the impressive scope of Habermas?s recent writings on European themes, including theoretical treatments of the complex legal and political issues at stake, interventions on current affairs, and reflections on the lives and works of major European philosophers and intellectuals. Together the essays provide eloquent testimony to the enduring relevance of the work of one of the most influential and far-sighted public intellectuals in the world today, and are essential reading for all philosophers, legal scholars and social scientists interested in European and global issues.
historical achievements of a level of justice embodied by the nation-states. ‘Higher-level’ or ‘shared’ sovereignty means that the constituting authority is limited by an obligation to conserve from a revolutionary past within the larger frame of the future Union the substance of what national citizens claim as the emancipatory achievements of their respective national democracies. If one asks from this perspective of a ‘double’ sovereign which further reforms of the existing European Treaties
character of these identities is equally fictive in both cases.10 It is not a historical fact from which an obstacle to integration could be deduced. Regression phenomena of this kind are symptoms of a failure of political and economic systems that have ceased to generate sufficient levels of social security. The sociocultural diversity of the regions and nations is a valuable heritage that sets Europe apart from other continents, not a barrier that restricts Europe to a small-state mode of
consciousness of oneself as a constitutive feature of the whole situation?’ 21. Martin Buber, ‘Replies to my Critics’, in Schilpp and Friedman, The Philosophy of Martin Buber, 695. 22. Karl-Otto Apel, ‘Die Logos-Auszeichnung der menschlichen Sprache: Die philosophische Tragweite der Sprechakttheorie’, in Paradigmen der Ersten Philosophie: Zur reflexiven – transzendentalpragmatischen – Rekonstruktion der Philosophiegeschichte (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2011), 92–137. 23. Buber, I and Thou, 52. 24. Buber,
living in a post-revolutionary and a post-heroic age. By 1968, the revolution had already changed genres – from opera to operetta. What changed in the process was not time consciousness as such, but consciousness of modernity, that is, the attitude of political actors to the time arrow of economic and social modernization. Since then, modernization has assumed the form of a self-sustaining systemic process. And we are no longer supposed to be able to take control of it. The locus of control has
impulses from the Old Testament, in good atheistic manner, with the help of Saint-Simon and Hegel. In the ‘morality of ancient Judaism’ he now recognized the egalitarian and universalist roots of his own militant pathos of justice and freedom. Heine the convert did not have to make any major revisions to his view of history, even though he now no longer resisted Protestant conversion and Jewish descent, and both even appeared in an affirmative light: the Jews bestowed their God and his word, the