MPSA 2014 Abstract

I will be presenting this paper, a part of my dissertation, at the 72nd annual Midwest Political Science Association conference in April, 2014.

“Loyal to Whom: Liberal Statism and Cosmopolitanism”

In this paper, I argue that liberal statism and liberal cosmopolitanism, often understood to be incompatible, are in fact compatible positions. Liberal statism, of the kind developed by Anna Stilz and Richard Miller, holds the particularity requirement: the presumption that compatriots deserve normative priority, also holds that the state is necessary for the dictates of justice to be understood.  Contrary to this, cosmopolitans such as Simon Caney and Gillian Brock, hold that the particularity requirement is an unfounded liberal assumption. In doing so, they claim that obligations of justice are universal and as such apply to all persons. The particularity requirement, according to Stilz, is not merely an unfounded liberal assumption. Rather, as a fundamental principle of liberalism, it is necessary in order to understand the meaning of political normative claims, such as those to fairness, freedom, equality, or justice. For this reason, the particularity assumption can be shown to be necessary to a liberal theory. I argue, in this paper, that such statist claims cannot effectively block a cosmopolitan critique, if that cosmopolitan critique entails support for the development of a world state.

I underscore the claim that these two positions are not incompatible—and in fact can be synthesized if we accept the normative necessity of a world state for fulfilling liberal normative commitments. The previous lack of real consideration of the concept of a world state has lead to inconsistency and contradiction within liberal democratic theory on the problem of political normativity or justice. I argue that because a state is necessary for delineating the contents of claims to justice, right, and equality, as well as the universal nature of liberal political normativity, the logically necessary institution to fulfill these goals at the same time is a kind of global government.

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