A Liberal Theory of International Justice by Andrew Altman

By Andrew Altman

A Liberal conception of foreign Justice advances a unique idea of foreign justice that mixes the orthodox liberal thought that the lives of people are what finally subject morally with the putatively antiliberal notion of an irreducibly collective correct of self-governance. the person and her rights are put at middle level insofar as political states are judged valid in the event that they thoroughly defend the human rights in their materials and appreciate the rights of all others. but, the booklet argues that valid states have an ethical correct to self-determination and that this correct is inherently collective, irreducible to the person rights of the people who represent them. Exploring the consequences of those rules, A Liberal idea of foreign Justice addresses concerns referring to democracy, secession, foreign legal legislation, armed intervention, political assassination, worldwide distributive justice, and immigration. a few of the positions taken within the booklet run opposed to the grain of present educational opinion: there isn't any human correct to democracy; separatist teams should be morally entitled to secede from valid states; the truth that it's a topic of brute good fortune even if one is born in a filthy rich nation or a poorer one doesn't suggest that monetary inequalities throughout states has to be minimized or perhaps saved inside of sure limits; so much latest states haven't any correct opposed to armed intervention; and it really is morally permissible for a sound nation to exclude all would-be immigrants.

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Moreover, our principles of political selfdetermination link the right directly to what, on the individualist view, does have ultimate moral value. Groups have the right of political self-determination if and only if they are willing and able to adequately protect and respect human rights. And human rights are protections against standard threats to the ability of individuals to lead decent lives. Accordingly, the right of political selfdetermination does not float free of individual rights or well-being, nor is the right simply conferred upon whichever agent can do the best job of protecting individual rights from a purely instrumental point.

But now suppose that, throughout history, there has been a high probability that a randomly chosen member of any given society would not have a satisfactory shield unless his or her society was rich. Indeed, this circumstance would be easy enough to explain: Only with sufficient funds could people build or otherwise acquire the shields they need. As a consequence, one might suppose that there is actually a human right to live in a rich society. After all, if one does not live in a rich society, there is a good chance that one will have no protection against the standard threat of one’s enemy’s arrows.

In the first case, all the men (who make up the majority of a community) vote that women shall henceforth be denied the Self-Determination and Democracy 31 right to vote because, qua women, they are incapable of understanding political issues. Obviously the women in this scenario would be disrespected by their disenfranchisement. Contrast this with the referendum outlined above, however, in which a majority of Czech citizens vote to abandon democracy in favor of a monarchy because they believe there are important advantages to be gained by monarchical decision-making.

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