Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy by Bonnie Honig

By Bonnie Honig

This publication intervenes in modern debates concerning the danger posed to democratic lifestyles via political emergencies. needs to emergency inevitably improve and centralize top-down kinds of sovereignty? those that oppose government department enhancement usually flip as an alternative to legislations, insisting at the sovereignty of the rule of thumb of legislation or difficult that legislation instead of strength be used to solve conflicts with enemies. yet are those the one techniques? Or are there extra democratic how one can reply to invocations of emergency politics? how emergencies some time past and current have formed the advance of democracy, Bonnie Honig argues that democracies needs to face up to emergency's pull to target life's must haves (food, safeguard, and naked necessities) simply because those are inclined to privatize and isolate electorate instead of deliver us jointly on behalf of hopeful futures. Emphasizing the connections among mere lifestyles and extra lifestyles, emergence and emergency, Honig argues that emergencies name us to wait anew to a missed paradox of democratic politics: that we'd like sturdy electorate with aspirational beliefs to make reliable politics whereas we want sturdy politics to infuse electorate with idealism.

Honig takes a vast method of emergency, contemplating immigration politics, new rights claims, modern foodstuff politics and the infrastructure of intake, and the bounds of legislations in the course of the purple Scare of the early 20th century. Taking its bearings from Moses Mendelssohn, Franz Rosenzweig, and different Jewish thinkers, this can be a significant contribution to trendy considered the demanding situations and dangers of democratic orientation and motion in accordance with emergency.

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Sample text

The lawgiver arrives in response to a move away from the paradox of democratic legitimation and toward the paradox of politics, discussed above and construed by Rousseau initially (but only initially, as we shall see) in bk. II, chap. 7, as a paradox of founding. In the paradox beginnings 19 of democratic legitimation, represented in bk. II, chap. 3, on whether the general will can err, the people loom as a problem for the general will that is supposed to be theirs. They may “err” by willing the wrong thing.

The point is made clear when Rousseau ends his chapter on the lawgiver with a warning against cheap impersonators. “The great soul of the legislator is the true miracle that should prove his mission. Any man can engrave stone tablets, buy an 22 c h a pt e r o n e oracle, or feign secret intercourse with some divinity, or train a bird to talk in his ear, or find other crude methods of imposing his beliefs on the people. ”], but he will never found an empire and his extravagant work will soon die with him.

Here is how the deliberative democratic theorist, Seyla Benhabib, understands the paradox: Rousseau’s distinction between the “will of all” and “the general will,” between what specific individuals under concrete circumstances believe to be in their best interest and what they would believe to be in their collective interest if they were properly enlightened, expresses the paradox of democratic legitimacy. , can be normatively justified, only insofar as such exercise of power also expresses a “general will,” that is, a collective good that is said to be equally in the interests of all.

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