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Kant’s foedus pacificum: Path to peace or prolegomena to neoliberalism and authoritarian corporatist globalization in contemporary liberal democratic states?

Authors:
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Brownsville Campus)

Abstract

Immanuel Kant's language and concept of foedus pacificum (league of peace) combined with his call for a spirit of trade promised a prescription for world peace-"seeking to end all wars forever" (Kant, 1795/1983, p. 117). Nation-state level cooperation between liberal democracies has borne out Kant's analysis to some effect. A consequence of the twin pursuits of foedus pacificum and spirit of trade has ironically resulted in the exploitation of society. Today's international corporations adversely affect public policies ostensibly designed to protect citizens through an anti-democratic market-based ideology within the State-as seen through the lenses of Foucauldian post-structural theory and Debord's society of the spectacle. The author proposes that globalist-corporatist control of governing apparatuses is now exposed for its authoritarian tendencies. This action could result in the ultimate destruction of the representative democratic state with the onset of neoliberalism and authoritarianism.
Annales. Ethics in Economic Life 2020
Vol. 23, No. 2, 720
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.18778/1899-2226.23.2.01
Terence M. Garrett
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Public Affairs and Security Studies Department
e-mail: terence.garrett@utrgv.edu
Kant’s foedus pacificum:
Path to peace or prolegomena to neoliberalism
and authoritarian corporatist globalization in
contemporary liberal democratic states?
Abstract
Immanuel Kant’s language and concept of foedus pacificum (league of peace)
combined with his call for a spirit of trade promised a prescription for world
peace—“seeking to end all wars forever” (Kant, 1795/1983, p. 117). Nation-state
level cooperation between liberal democracies has borne out Kant’s analysis to
some effect. A consequence of the twin pursuits of foedus pacificum and spirit of
trade has ironically resulted in the exploitation of society. Today’s international
corporations adversely affect public policies ostensibly designed to protect citi-
zens through an anti-democratic market-based ideology within the Stateas seen
through the lenses of Foucauldian post-structural theory and Debord’s society of
the spectacle. The author proposes that globalist-corporatist control of governing
apparatuses is now exposed for its authoritarian tendencies. This action could
result in the ultimate destruction of the representative democratic state with the
onset of neoliberalism and authoritarianism.
Keywords: perpetual peace, post-structuralism, spectacle, neoliberalism,
authoritarianism
JEL Classification: F55, F68, P17, P48
8 TERENCE M. GARRETT
1. Introduction: The Possibility of Perpetual Peace Under
the Current Global World Order
The central theme of this manuscript is to analyze society from the state level
through the international system in order to understand the contemporary political
economic environment. We will examine its impact on organizations providing
public services to the people in democracies. As such, the paper will move toward
an interpretative approach encompassing elements of three important discourses.
The approaches used analyze primarily critical theory, specifically the market
spectacle based on the French Situationist and Marxist scholar, Guy Debord
(1967/1995) and the poststructuralist theorist, Michel Foucault (2008) and his
concept of neoliberal governmentality. With these theoretical perspectives, we
will examine Immanuel Kant’s (1795/1983) peace federation as the basis for lib-
eralism theory in order to better understand the contemporary societal impact on
international relations and the implications for public policy making in states.
There is a discussion of Kant’s peace federation concept and his supporters fol-
lowed by critiques of neoliberalism and globalization supplemented with the
scholarly works of Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, and more recently, Stephen
Hartnett and Laura Stengrim (2006). The paper will conclude with an analysis of
Kant’s foedus pacificum concept and its implications for public policy as to what
constitutes a democratic state.
In the sections that follow we will be examining first Kant’s vision of perpet-
ual peace and the rise of liberal-democratic states constituting the basis for liberal-
ism theory in international relations theory from the late eighteenth century to the
present. Secondly, we analyze the implementation of Kant’s philosophical ideas as
manifested by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson at the conclusion of World War I
that resulted in Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the origins of the League of Nations
(Kane, 2012). Wilson’s work is instructive and important as it set the world dip-
lomatic efforts on a course in attempting to achieve Kant’s vision of perpetual
peace on a global scale. Third, we explore Kant’s conception of the “spirit of
trade”—or international capitalismas an economic system by which to achieve
Kant’s peace through global democratic states adhering to the liberalism track.
This is followed by a post-structuralist theoretical critique of liberalism, its varia-
tions, and the development and corrosive nature of neoliberalism. Finally, a Marx-
ist-based critical theoretical perspective based on Debord’s (1967/1994) Society of
the Spectacle is utilized to expose the hidden-ness of neoliberalism and its anti-
democratic nature that leads to economic exploitation of the masses without their
awareness of the cause and effects of neoliberalism. Public policies are imple-
mented to the detriment of the people under the covert nature of neoliberalism as
presented by Foucauldian and Debordian theoretical critiques.
KANTS FOEDUS PACIFICUM 9
2. Kant’s Philosophical Vision of Perpetual Peace
and Temporal/Spatial Considerations
Traditional, or classical, international relations theory is general categorized as
belonging to three dominant paradigms: realism, liberalism, and socialism (Der
Derrian, 1997; Doyle and Ikenberry, 1997). In this essay, we will be examining
the implications of liberalismfrom the international relations literatureon
people dwelling within liberal states’ borders and people affected by the phenom-
enon of liberalism internationally through critical and post-structural lenses. Do-
mestic political considerations on all manner of international relations theoretical
interpretations, including liberalism, are increasingly pursued to gain better under-
standing (Evangelista, 1997). Kant was one of the primary philosophers laid the
foundation for modern liberal international relations theory. During Kant’s time,
liberalism was the primary challenge to the monarchical state. Europe had long
engaged in wars between nation-states controlled by autocrats who were subse-
quently challenged by the merchant class. This “revolutionary” ideology based on
individual freedom and free market principles “was never a doctrine of the Left; it
was always the quintessential centrist doctrine” whose “advocates were sure of
their moderation, their wisdom, and their humanity” reckoning themselves to be
somewhere in the middle of the ideological spectrum (Wallerstein, 1995, pp.12).
The liberal doctrine became part and parcel of a new class of rulersnow the
mercantile classsupplanting the old monarchical and aristocratic system. Liber-
alism as a philosophy is perpetuated by Kant and is formulated and summed as
follows with regard to his notion of a league of peace:
SECOND DEFINITIVE ARTICLE FOR A PERPETUAL PEACE
The right of nations shall be founded on a “federation of free states”
[336] [] A league of a special sort, must therefore be established, one that we
can call a league of peace (foedus pacificum), and which will be distinguished
from a treaty of peace (pactum pacis) because the latter seeks merely to stop one
war, while the former seeks to end all wars forever. This league does not seek
any power of the sort possessed by nations, but only the maintenance and securi-
ty of each nation’s own freedom, as well as that of the other nations leagued
with it, without their having thereby to subject themselves to civil laws and their
constraints (as men in the state of nature must do). It can be shown that this idea
of federalism should eventually include all nations and thus lead to perpetual
peace. For if good fortune should so dispose matters that a powerful and enlight-
ened people should form a republic (which by its nature must be inclined to seek
perpetual peace), it will provide a focal point for a federal association among
other nations that will join it in order to guarantee a state of peace among nations
that is in accord with the idea of the right of nations, and through several associ-
ations of this sort such a federation can extend further and further []. [357]
Reason can provide related nations with no other means for emerging from the
state of lawlessness, which consists solely of war, than that they give up their
10 TERENCE M. GARRETT
savage (lawless) freedom, just as individual persons do, and by accommodating
themselves to the constraints of common law, establish a nation of peoples (civi-
tas gentium) that (continually growing) will finally include all the people of the
earth. (Kant, 1795/1983, p. 117, italics in the original)
Kant analyzed the international relations system of his day and theorized that over
time more democracies with liberal economic trading tendencies would increase.
The accumulation of such states would lead to peace in international relationsat
least between likely politically and economically structured states. To date, other
than relatively minor skirmishes between such nations, war has not occurred be-
tween liberal states and “have strengthened the prospects for a world peace estab-
lished by the steady expansion of a separate peace” among them, although not
between liberals and non-liberals (Doyle, 1997, p. 252). Kant’s vision at first
glance appears to have withstood the test of time as liberal international principles
“have created incentives for a separate peace among Liberal states, for aggression
against non-Liberals, and for compliance in vital matters of security and economic
cooperation” (pp. 258259; Doyle, 2006). Doyle (2005) further extends Kant’s
vision of modern liberalism to include three pillars: (1) republican representation;
(2) an ideological commitment to fundamental human rights; and, (3) transnation-
al interdependence. The ideas of liberalism are “together (and only together) the
three specific strands of liberal institutions, liberal ideas, and transnational ties
plausibly connect the characteristics of liberal polities and economies with sus-
tained liberal peace” (p. 465). The Liberal State within the international system
under Kant’s interpretation is [] an institution that makes a systematic differ-
ence to what is morally permissible for ordinary moral agents to do” and “that
people [within the State] have a duty to see to it such an organization comes into
existence” (Waldron, 2006, p. 183). This implies that people living in the State
must be in compliance with its laws and policies with legitimate, formal authority
(p. 197).
In the next section we will examine the impact of the implementation of
Kant’s concept of perpetual peace in U.S. foreign policy post World War I. As
a political science scholarthe only such academic to become president of the
U.S.—Woodrow Wilson brought forward Kant’s perpetual peace concepts to bear
on the post war period. While President Wilson largely failed in much of his en-
deavor, he was successful in legitimizing Kantian principles in international rela-
tions. This effort has implications for contemporary global politics.
3. President Woodrow Wilson and Kantian Influences
The United States has long been a proponent of Kant’s vision of establishing
peace through his principles as indicated by President Woodrow Wilson who
wrote his Fourteen Points for peace at the conclusion of World War I. His ap-
proach to foreign affairs is summed here as
KANTS FOEDUS PACIFICUM 11
Though it be true that democratic government will make wars less likely, it will
notion the individual states, but eliminate all causes of conflict between nations,
and if the enormous sacrifices of this war are not to be made in vain, not merely
must democracy triumph in the individual states, but in the society of states as
well.
The development of modern democracy has meant two things: equality of rights
and the assurance of those rights through popular control of government. Within
the individual states special privilege has steadily been replaced by equality of
men before the law, and the right of a few to administer government as their pri-
vate possession has made way for the conception that the whole people has the
right to direct government for the welfare of all. To put it another way, democra-
cy may be regarded as the realization of human rights through the agency of
government in channels determined by the popular will. (1918/1992, p. 268)
Despite the fact Wilson was unable to get the US Senate to ratify the treaty for the
US into the League of Nations, his Kantian-inspired prose found its way into the
Treaty of Versailles. Rhetorically, at least, the concept of peace federations made
it into U.S. foreign policy parlance and, of course, the League of Nations devel-
oped a precedent to be followed and after the Second World War with the eventual
creation of the United Nations. By this time, the U.S. became a world leader cul-
minating into the preeminent power later by the end of the Second World War to
the present day as an exemplar of a liberal-democratic state.
4. Emphasis on Capitalism
The second and equally important component of Kant’s essays pertaining to eco-
nomic liberalism and globalization deserves more scrutiny. Kant’s concept of the
spirit of trade is more complex and troubling as the practice of free trade
[367] [] cannot coexist with war, and sooner or later this spirit dominates eve-
ry people. For among those powers (or means) that belong to a nation, financial
power may be the most reliable in forcing nations pursue the noble cause of
peace (though not from moral motives); and wherever in the world war threatens
to break out, they will try to head it off through mediation, just as if they were
permanently leagued for this purpose. By the very nature of things, large allianc-
es for [purposes of waging] war are very rare and are even more rarely success-
ful. In this fashion nature guarantees perpetual peace by virtue of the mechanism
of man’s inclinations themselves; to be sure, it does not do so with a certainty
sufficient to prophesy it from a theoretical point of view, but we can do so from
a practical one, which makes it our duty to work toward bringing about this goal
(which is not a chimerical one). (Kant, 1795/1983, p. 125)
Kant’s notion of practicality in which he derived his theory supports capitalism
and all of its effects on human society. Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter
12 TERENCE M. GARRETT
(1919/1992) echoed Kant in advocating for a purely capitalist world that would
deny imperialist impulses and cites these facts to support his theory:
1. Throughout the world of capitalism, and specifically among the elements
formed by capitalism in modern social life, there has arisen a fundamental
opposition to war, expansion, cabinet diplomacy, armaments, and socially-
entrenched professional armies [] modern pacifism, in its political foun-
dations if not its derivation, is unquestionably a phenomenon of the capital-
ist world.
2. Wherever capitalism penetrated, peace parties of such strength arose that
virtually every war meant a political struggle of the domestic scene []. No
people and no ruling class today can openly afford to regard war as a normal
state of affairs or a normal element in the life of nations.
3. The type of industrial worker created by capitalism is always vigorously an-
ti-imperialist.
4. Despite manifest resistance on the part of powerful elements, the capitalist
age has seen the development of methods for preventing war, for the peace-
ful settlement of disputes among states.
5. Among all capitalist economies, that of the United States is least burdened
with precapitalist elements, survivals, reminiscences and power fac-
tors…[and] is likely to exhibit the weakest imperialist trend. (pp. 220222)
Schumpeter posited that capitalism is by its very nature anti-imperialist and, in
essence, supports Kant’s idealism for a peace federation. The evidence marshaled
by proponents such as Woodrow Wilson and Joseph Schumpeter for liberal eco-
nomic systems appears convincing. However, Foucault (2008) criticizes Kant’s
utopian concept and Debord (1967/1995) deconstructs further modern capitalist
ideology in the Society of the Spectacle with its propensity to overshadow, over-
take, and eventually undermine democracy as we will see subsequently. The prob-
lems of implementation of Kant’s theoretical concept into actual public policy-
making were not yet fully apparent in Kant’s and Schumpeter’s time most
especially on a global scale.
5. Critique of Liberalism and Kantian Connections:
Post-Structuralism and Foucault’s Liberal Utopias
Michel Foucault (2008) on Kant’s vision of perpetual peace is that it is an appear-
ance of governmental rationality based on the nature of man that encompasses:
KANTS FOEDUS PACIFICUM 13
1. Men can have relations of exchange with each other individually, supported
by property, etcetera, and this prescription or precept of nature will be taken
up in legal obligations and become civil law.
2. Commercial relationships cross the world, just as nature intended, and to the
same extent as nature intended the whole world to be populated, and this
will constitute cosmopolitan law or commercial law []. Perpetual peace is
guaranteed by nature and this guarantee is manifested in the population of
the entire world and in the commercial relationships stretching across the
whole world. The guarantee of perpetual peace is therefore actually com-
mercial globalization (p. 57, italics added for emphasis).
Foucault objected to Kant’s (and Adam Smith’s) political calculations for liberal-
ism on historical grounds and cites the internecine problems of Europe and the
failure of the Congress of Vienna, for example, and the attempt to put to an end
Napoleon’s imperialist designs. This brought about equilibrium between Austria
and England, all based on the principle of the European market. Foucault then
analyzed the political doctrine of liberalism in Germany and the U.S. and de-
scribes it as “enlightened despotism” (2008, p. 61). Liberalism thus practiced as
described by Foucault is “the art of government formed in the eighteenth century
[that] entails at its heart a productive/destructive relationship [with] freedom. [It]
must produce freedom, but this very act entails the establishment of limitations,
controls, forms of coercion, and obligations relying on threats…” in favor of free
trade over democratic values (p. 64). The art of government under such a regime
favors commercial interests as against labor where “the freedom of the workers
must not become a danger for the enterprise and production” and the central prob-
lem of liberalism is “the economy of power” by the “interplay between freedom
and security” (p. 65).
Foucault spoke of other issues afflicting liberalism. He credited Bentham for
his invention of the Panopticon and its use for the “formula of liberal government”
whereby the workers in the economy would be supervised for the profitability and
labor activity with control being the mainspring as the counterweight of freedom
of action (pp. 6667). Another form of crisis is
[] the inflation of the compensatory mechanisms of freedom. That is to say,
for the exercise of some of some freedom, like that of the freedom of the market
and anti-monopoly legislation, for example, you could have the formation of
a legislative straitjacket which the market partners experience as excessive inter-
ventionism and excessive constraint and coercion. At a much more local level,
you have everything which takes on the appearance of revolt and rejection of the
world of the disciplines. Finally and above all, there are processes of clogging
such that the mechanisms for producing freedom, precisely those that are called
upon to manufacture this freedom, actually produce destructive effects which
prevail over the very freedom they are supposed to procure. This is, if you like,
the ambiguity of all the devices which could be called “liberogenic,” that is to
say, devices intended to produce freedom which potentially risk producing ex-
14 TERENCE M. GARRETT
actly the opposite []. This is precisely the present crisis of liberalism.
(pp. 6869, italics added for emphasis)
Liberalism thus conceived by Foucault lays the groundwork for the twentieth
century phenomenon constituted and known today as neoliberalism. Lemke (2001)
(on Foucault) discussing the Ordo-liberals, founders of a version of neoliberalism,
notes:
Foucault points out that the constructivist and anti-naturalist thrust of the Ordo-
liberal project [from the Freiburg School of Wilhelm Röpke, Walter Eucken,
Franz Böhm, Alexander Rüstow, and Alfred Müller-Armack, who were propo-
nents of social market theory] cannot be separated from the special historical sit-
uation in post-war Germany. The notion of an open economic domain that is
created only by incessant social intervention served as political legitimation for
the newly founded second German republic. Unlike classical liberalism, the Or-
do-liberals did not face the problem of how to establish sufficient market free-
doms within an existing state. Instead, the question they faced was how a state
could be created on the basis of economic liberty, whereby the latter doubles up
as the principle of state legitimation and state self-delineation. In other words,
what is involved is not the legitimation of an already extant state, but a form of
legitimation that founds a state: the economic liberty produces the legitimacy for
a form of sovereignty limited to guaranteeing economic activity (p. 196).
Lemke explains that Foucault, when describing the differences of neoliberalism
between the Freiburg and Chicago schools “the US neo-liberals attempt[ed] to re-
define the social sphere as a form of the economic domain,” thus, the government
becomes an enabler, or an enterprise itself, fostering market-based systems of
social and economic relations of individuals, groups, and institutions encompass-
ing all human interaction (2001, p. 197). Foucault (2008) described the Chicago
School variant as the “anarcho-liberal American form” (p. 117) or as “American
liberal utopians” (p. 179). He traced the development of the Chicago School
through Ordo-liberal emissaries such as Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von
Mises (p. 161) in the twentieth century. Following Foucault, Lemke (2001) sub-
mits that the American neoliberal
[] governmentality not only focuses on the integral link between micro- and
macro-political levels (e.g. globalization or competition for ‘attractive’ sites for
companies and personal imperatives as regards beauty or a regimented diet), it
also highlights the intimate relationship between ‘ideological’ and ‘political-
economic’ agencies (e.g. the semantics of flexibility and the introduction of new
structures of production). This enables us to shed sharper light on the effects
neo-liberal governmentality has in terms of (self-) regulation and domination.
These effects entail not just the simple reproduction of existing social asymme-
tries or their ideological obfuscation, but are the product of a re-coding of social
mechanisms of exploitation and domination on the basis of a new topography of
the social domain. (p. 203)
KANTS FOEDUS PACIFICUM 15
Foucault (2008) stated the problematic of the economy in that “Liberalism ac-
quired its modern shape precisely with the formulation of [the] essential incompat-
ibility between the non-totalizable multiplicity of economic subjects of interest
and the totalizing unity of the juridical sovereign [the government of the State]” as
there is no sovereign in economics (pp. 282283). Invoking the philosopher, Ad-
am Ferguson, civil society, inseparable to the economic structure, is also a transac-
tional reality under liberalism that is self-limited as it is “pegged to the specificity
of economic processes” within the State (Foucault, 2008, p. 297). He noted, in
contrast, that civil society has non-egoistic interests that bring people together
separately and distinctly, bonding them together, that is different from purely
economic transactional relations (p. 301). Foucault stated further that there is
a paradoxical relationship between liberal economic rationalism and civil society
as one moves towards an economic state in that “the constitutive bond of civil
society is weakened and the more the individual is isolated by the economic bond
he has with everyone and anyone” (p. 303). Foucault unraveled the constitutive
elements of society in order to reveal structures that affect governmentality of the
State.
6. The Critical Lens Focused on Neoliberalism
In a consumerist society, the sounds of the scurrying and scampering feet of time
hammer home one message: it is not just the things you are uncertain about that
require your immediate attention, but things you do not yet know you are uncer-
tain about. This sounds an ultimate, irrevocable and unmistakable death knell to
all and any certainty. All certainty being putative and at best until further notice,
all self-confidence being a product of insufficient attention or downright igno-
rance, the most treacherous variety of uncertainty is the uncertainty of which
you, perilously, are as yet unaware []. (Bauman, 2010, p. 70)
So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an
ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith
describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolu-
tion. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and
shift the locus of power []. Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining
characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose
democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that re-
wards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers
benefits that could never be achieved by planning. (Monbiot, April 15, 2016, pa-
ra. 3-4)
There are plenty of doubts as to whether Kant’s peace federation theory will come
into full existence on a global scale. Wallerstein (1995) submits that liberal ideol-
ogy is self-contradictory and total in that “if all humans have equal rights, we
cannot maintain the kind of inegalitarian system that the capitalist world-economy
has always been and always will be” (p. 161). Even one of the pillars of global
16 TERENCE M. GARRETT
neoliberalism, The International Monetary Fund has allowed critics within its own
institutional apparatus to question the neoliberal global model. Ostry, Loungani,
and Furceri (2016) note
[] there are aspects of the neoliberal agenda that have not delivered as ex-
pected. Our assessment of the agenda is confined to the effects of two policies:
removing restrictions on the movement of capital across a country’s borders (so-
called capital account liberalization); and fiscal consolidation, sometimes called
“austerity,” which is shorthand for policies to reduce fiscal deficits and debt lev-
els. An assessment of these specific policies (rather than the broad neoliberal
agenda) reaches three disquieting conclusions:
The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish
when looking at a broad group of countries.
The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize
the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the ne-
oliberal agenda.
Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if
growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that
agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects. (pp. 3839)
In the era of neoliberalism, civil society is trumped in favor of economic rational-
ism. Moving beyond Foucault’s The Birth of Biopolitics from the end of the twen-
tieth century to the present, Debord (1967/1995) stated we live in times where “the
world the spectacle holds up to view is at once here and elsewhere; it is the world
of the commodity ruling over all lived experience” (p. 26). Commodity fetishism
is the quasi-religion of society. Agamben (2000) (on Debord) submits that “the
‘becoming-image’ of capital is nothing more than the commodity’s last metamor-
phosis, in which exchange value has completely eclipsed use value and can now
achieve the status of absolute and irresponsible sovereignty over life in its entirety,
after having falsified the entire social production” (p. 74.5). Similar to Foucauldi-
an terms, civil society has been displaced by the economic rationalism of neolib-
eralism and globalization but is laid bare. Agamben (1993) again following
Debord states:
Capitalism in its final form, he arguedradicalizing the Marxian analysis of the
fetishistic character of commodities, which was foolishly neglected in those
yearspresents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles, in which all
that was directly lived is distanced in a representation. The spectacle does not
simply coincide, however, with the sphere of images or with what we call today
the media: It is ‘a social relation among people, mediated by images,’ the expro-
priation and the alienation of human sociality itself. Or rather, using a lapidary
formula, ‘the spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it be-
comes an image.’ But for that very reason, the spectacle is nothing but the pure
form of separation: When the real world is transformed into an image and imag-
KANTS FOEDUS PACIFICUM 17
es become real, the practical power of humans is separated from itself and pre-
sented as a world unto itself. In the figure of this world separated and organized
by the media in which the forms of the State and the economy are interwoven,
the mercantile economy attains the status of absolute and irresponsible sover-
eignty over all social life. (p. 79, italics added for emphasis)
Civil society has been transcended by the neoliberal economic rationalism as Gil-
man-Opalsky (2011) analyzing Debord’s work as
the spectacle [] is []a worldview transposed into the very architecture of our
cities and towns, ideology materialized [] this worldview originates with those
privileged enough within the political-economic structure that such satisfaction
is indeed the case (in business, politics, and military). For everyone else,
this worldview conditions both passive and active acceptance of the manifold
of lifestyle options offered under capitalism, and rules out the destabilization of
existing hierarchical structures and any scheme for the redistribution or decen-
tralization of wealth and power []. Capitalism is everywhere presented, from
education to advertising and political punditry, as a prerequisite for democracy,
or as the same thing as democracy, or as something that necessitates democrati-
zation. Certainly this side alone exists for our neoliberal economists. But in prin-
ciple, capitalism has no substantive or procedural need for democracy.
(pp. 7475, italics added for emphasis)
Neoliberal globalization has supplanted democracy and replaced it with an author-
itarian variant formed from its economic rationalism as Guy Debord (1967/1995)
submits:
The spectacle corresponds to the historical moment at which the commodity
completes its colonization of social life. It is not just that the relationship to
commodities is now plain to seecommodities are now all that there is to see;
the world we see is the world of the commodity. The growth of the dictatorship
of modern economic production is both extensive and intensive in character.
(p. 29, italics added for emphasis)
The loss of democracy has implications in terms of foreign and domestic policy
making. Hartnett and Stengrim (2006) make the case that neoliberal-
ism/globalization via the 9-11 terrorist attacks and the George W. Bush admin-
istrationas exemplars of the phenomenon—have led to the U.S. losing its “hab-
its of democratic integrity” and the “falsification of life” among other issues
(pp. 288, 292). Using Debord in their analysis, Hartnett and Stengrim (2006) cite
the spectacle of globalizing capitalism leading to an “objective force” based on
fetishizing commodities through violence, thus enabling wars of aggression for
material means (p. 159; Debord, 1967/1995, p. 13). The violence of globalization
is shown by the U.S. government in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks and it
signifies an end to democratic governance.
18 TERENCE M. GARRETT
7. Kant’s Peace Federation Reconsidered
Immanuel Kant’s league of peace ideal appears to be based on firm philosophical
ground while looking at it from an eighteenth or nineteenth century perspective.
Temporal and spatial considerations since have not been amenable to Kant’s theo-
ry. While Kant and his advocates have posited a federation of liberal states based
on the principles of representative democracy and the free market, the “spirit of
trade” theme has digressed to Foucauldian neoliberalism and to an all-
encompassing Debordian spectacle of globalization that undermines legitimate
democracies. The marketplace ideology of neoliberalism has supplanted genuine
democratic governance and discourse, making the political institutions and life of
the people into an image of what it formerly was. The blurring of the distinction
between Kant’s concept of civitas gentium remains a utopian ideal far from being
realized given the present and persistent dominance of neoliberalism. Foucault
warned us regarding the loss of civil society to the dangers of an omnipresent
neoliberal governmentality. In many respects the world today is as far away as the
time of Kant insofar as achieving the ideal of foedus pacificum.
8. Conclusion: Implications for Public Policy in the U.S.
and other Representative Democracies
The present-day environment whereby citizens ruled by neoliberal advocates in
what ostensibly is a representative democracy is not conducive to effective and
meaningful governance. Politicians and elected officials sound the bell of Kantian
liberalism when soliciting their publics to take actionwhile removing the con-
cept of neoliberalism from the public discourse. Numerous critics have attempted
to lay bare the authoritarian nature of the neoliberalism phenomena. Hartnett and
Stengrim (2006) have shown how the Bush administration manipulated democrat-
ic symbols on behalf of a global agenda leading to the twilight of democracy.
Debord’s society of the spectacle exposes the negative ramifications of the neolib-
eral discourse and its exploitation going largely unknown to the masses. Marcuse
(1969) has called for a “new sensibility” whereby there must be an end to econom-
ic-political exploitation through a praxis that what “emerges in the struggle against
violence” as the “negation of the entire Establishment, its morality, [and] culture”
(p. 25). The question remains as to whether the people through their elected offi-
cials and bureaucrats (Garrett and Sementelli, 2012) will be able to attain a true
democratic-republican form of government once again providing public policies
that serve the political and economic interests of the people.
KANTS FOEDUS PACIFICUM 19
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Book
Immanuel Kant's views on politics, peace, and history have lost none of their relevance since their publication more than two centuries ago. This volume contains a comprehensive collection of Kant's writings on international relations theory and political philosophy, superbly translated and accompanied by stimulating essays. Pauline Kleingeld provides a lucid introduction to the main themes of the volume, and three essays by distinguished contributors follow: Jeremy Waldron on Kant's theory of the state; Michael W. Doyle on the implications of Kant's political theory for his theory of international relations; and Allen W. Wood on Kant's philosophical approach to history and its current relevance.
Chapter
For if justice goes, there is no longer any value in human beings living on the earth. (Morals, 6:332; 105) According to Kant, a condition of the individuals within a people in relation to one another is called a civil condition (status civilis), and the whole of individuals in a rightful condition, in relation to its members is called a state (civitas). (Morals, 6:311; 89) A fuller definition of such a state or civitas follows. A state (civitas) is a union of a multitude of human beings under laws of right. Insofar as these are a priori necessary as laws, that is insofar as they follow of themselves from concepts of external right as such (are not statuary), its form is the form of a state as such, that is, of the state in idea, as it ought to be in accordance with pure principles of right. This idea serves as a norm (norma) for every actual union into a commonwealth (hence serves as a norm for its internal constitution). (6:313; 90) This state is formally republican, in that the sovereign acts in the name of all subjects, and it should consist of a separation of (but not a true balance of) powers. The state's main function is the protection of property rights and the regulation of disputes about property and contract, and its sovereignty is absolute (there is no “right of revolution”; revolution is always absolutely forbidden).
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