Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Post-Modern, Post-National, Post-Progressive?

In the course of doing research on another topic, I ran across some discussions of progressivism. Eisuke Sakakibara suggests that the entire Cold War can be viewed as a battle between two wings of progressivism; capitalist progressivism and communist/socialist progressivism.
The Cold War was nothing but another civil war within the West or, more precisely, within the Western ideology of progressivism. The demise of socialism and the end of the Cold War released the world from a Western civil war over differing versions of progressivism to confront the more fundamental issues of environmental pollution and the peaceful coexistence of different civilizations. |Foreign Affairs|
John Fonte suggests that the next great social awakening is post-national progressivism.
[Modernity may be witnessing] not the final triumph of liberal democracy, but the emergence of a new transnational hybrid regime that is post-liberal democratic, and in the American context, post-Constitutional and post-American. This alternative ideology...constitutes a universal and modern worldview that challenges both the liberal democratic nation-state in general and the American regime in particular....

Talk in the West of a "culture war" is somewhat misleading, because the arguments over transnational vs. national citizenship, multiculturalism vs. assimilation, and global governance vs. national sovereignty are not simply cultural, but ideological and philosophical. They pose Aristotle's question: "What kind of government is best?"...

The challenge from transnational progressivism to traditional American concepts of citizenship, patriotism, assimilation, and the meaning of democracy itself is fundamental.

If our system is based not on individual rights (as defined by the U. S. Constitution) but on group consciousness (as defined by international law); not on equality of citizenship but on group preferences for non- citizens (including illegal immigrants) and for certain categories of citizens; not on majority rule within constitutional limits but on power-sharing by different ethnic, racial, gender, and linguistic groups; not on constitutional law, but on transnational law; not on immigrants becoming Americans, but on migrants linked between transnational communities; then the regime will cease to be "constitutional," "liberal," "democratic," and "American," in the understood sense of those terms, but will become in reality a new hybrid system that is "post-constitutional," "post-liberal," "post-democratic," and "post-American." |Link|
As globalization increases in pace the relevance of nation-states seems to decrease. The flow of capital, labor, and goods means that citizens, corporations, and NGO's are increasingly less tied to geographical and political boundaries.

Of course, there are a lot of forces at play and some of them militate against the development of transnational progressivism, but I think it's at least an interesting possibility.

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