Saturday, August 02, 2003

Immanuel Kant's notion of "True Liberty" in a Secular State (6)

This secularization thesis, the ideological foundation of secular government, as Talal Asad also argues, empowers the contemporary rulers of England to ignore the fact that Christianity "is a crucial element in the history that shaped Britain." This ideology does not solely remain in the realm of scholastic or philosophical debates, but rather establishes a very consequential foundation upon which the contemporary political discourse is formulated. In this discourse, the so-called "public" and "private" spheres are defined and distinguished and accordingly the very rights of citizens of the modern states are shaped and practiced.
The failure of the British government to extend the blasphemy law, which prohibits insults to Christianity, to the British Muslims in the case of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses is probably the most conspicuous example of such a consequence. The home minister for race relations, John Patten, in his document in this regard talks about "a common national culture." He claims that this commonality is to be found in "our democracy and our laws, the English language, and the history that has shaped modern Britain." Apparently, his concept of history differs from what I have mentioned here.
Due to the new reorganization of power, therefore, the traditional top-down or vertical hierarchical image of the power structure is inadequate to discuss the power of the state in its modern sense. Kant's internalization of the power of the invisible state, then, is the key to understanding these transformations.
In my opinion, the Enlightenment can be viewed in terms of a liminal stage of a process in which the boundaries of the previous order were broken down and the new one not yet established. In this process a very peculiar solution, in the discourse of true liberty, is being put forward, which introduces a shift in the structure of government. In the Weberian terminology, this movement and its doctrines, however, become routinized and institutionalized.

(posted by Farid)

Comments: Post a Comment