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The possible EU dispute with

The possible EU dispute with the bible (see below) shows the problem with the attempt to set up an international community among people with very different views by agreeing on a list of basic human rights and basing the community on that. The problem is that whatever principle is authoritative in the highest political community sooner or later becomes authoritative throughout the whole of life, because the highest community has responsibility for ensuring peace and so must be able to demand a loyalty that overrides all others. If it can’t demand that loyalty then there will be some conflicts it won’t be able to settle. Liberal human rights theory starts by trying to make some list of rights on which everyone agrees the highest authority. But since there’s no list on which everyone agrees, the list will in fact be one that someone decides everyone should agree to if differing substantive views of the good are ignored. In other words, it will be a full-blown restatement of liberalism, one that in fact turns out to settle all fundamental political and social issues. It has to do so in order to serve as a basis of political order when there is not much else on which agreement can be expected. It is therefore full-blown liberalism that becomes authoritative in the highest political community and in time everywhere else. So after a while it becomes illegal to distribute bibles. After all, the highest community is responsible for establishing peace, which for liberals is the greatest good. It must therefore be able to head off threats to peace, like things that reduce attachment to liberal principles. Attachments to nationality, religion, traditional ways and so on must therefore be rooted out, because they compete with attachment to liberalism. Hence the extreme sensitivity in the EU to “racism,” “xenophobia” and so on. Any fundamental attachment to something that isn’t liberal principle threatens peace, because it raises the possibility of conflicts liberal principle can’t resolve. And a government that’s cut itself off from religious, ethnic and historical roots, and so is based solely on liberal principle, can’t permit that.

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