Cosmopolitan Europe? Cosmopolitan justice against EU-centredness

Since the early 2000s, the concept of ‘cosmopolitan Europe’ (CE) has become popular among philosophers and sociologists as a ‘post-nationalist’ way to rethink and reform the European Union (EU) in an age of globalization. Thus, seeking its justification in the European cosmopolitan tradition as an answer to unrestrained nationalism in Europe, CE should make the EU pursue a vigorously cosmopolitan understanding of Europe as well as the world. The present article defends the claim that prevailing, EU-centred CE is morally flawed for uncritically presupposing the fundamental acceptability of the EU as a project that actually clashes with cosmopolitan justice. A threefold argument is developed. First, morally, cosmopolitanism is to be understood as a particularism-critical position that emphasizes global distributive justice. Second, from this moral cosmopolitan perspective, the EU is unjust for epitomizing ‘enlarged particularism’. Third, views of CE are unduly conservative for neglecting – neither acknowledging nor refuting – cosmopolitan justice while taking the EU’s basic defensibility as self-evident. The conclusion suggests that CE could only be a utopian, bottom-up view that advocates EU de-integration in favour of Europe-wide cooperation for a world more just in a cosmopolitan sense.

1. Introduction

A widespread belief exists that cosmopolitanism, rooted in Europe’s old universalist moral traditions, has been a key antidote to the excesses of nationalism in modern European history (Calhoun 2009 Calhoun, C. 2009. “Cosmopolitan Europe and European Studies.” In The Sage Handbook of European Studies, edited by C. Rumford, 637654. London: Sage. [Google Scholar]). Notably European integration is seen as cosmopolitanism-inspired for its contribution to peace and prosperity on a continent long torn by nationalist warfare and French–German conflict. In the 1990s, with the rise of globalization, cosmopolitanism seemed to become a still more important aspect of European self-understanding. Europe has acquired leadership in theorizing on ‘reflexive modernization’, renewing neo-Kantian moral universalism, developing international law, advocating democracy and human rights, providing global financial aid and humanitarian assistance, and boosting global climate policy. Cosmopolitanism seems now also present in an intellectual assessment of the diversity globalization has brought to Europe (Calhoun 2009 Calhoun, C. 2009. “Cosmopolitan Europe and European Studies.” In The Sage Handbook of European Studies, edited by C. Rumford, 637654. London: Sage. [Google Scholar], 638, 642, 645–647, 650; Eriksen 2006 Eriksen, E. O. 2006. “The EU – A Cosmopolitan Polity?Journal of European Public Policy 13: 252269. doi:10.1080/13501760500451683.[Taylor & Francis Online][Google Scholar], 62). Since the early 2000s, theorists have come to see the European Union (EU) as a ‘post-national’ upbeat to a cosmopolitan world order or to a European continent more radically open to difference (Brown 2014 Brown, G. W. 2014. “The European Union and Kant’s Idea of Cosmopolitan Right: Why the EU Is Not Cosmopolitan.” European Journal of International Relations 20: 671693. doi:10.1177/1354066113482991. [Google Scholar], 671–672; Eriksen 2014 Eriksen, E. O. 2014. The Normativity of the European Union. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [Google Scholar], 109; Habermas 2003 Habermas, J. 2003. “Towards a Cosmopolitan Europe: Making Sense of the EU.” Journal of Democracy 14: 86100. doi:10.1353/jod.2003.0077. [Google Scholar]; Beck and Grande 2007a Beck, U., and E. Grande. 2007a. Cosmopolitan Europe. Cambridge: Polity Press. [Google Scholar]; Calhoun 2009 Calhoun, C. 2009. “Cosmopolitan Europe and European Studies.” In The Sage Handbook of European Studies, edited by C. Rumford, 637654. London: Sage. [Google Scholar]). Thus, the concept of ‘cosmopolitan Europe’ (CE) has gained academic popularity as a means to analyse Europe, notably the EU.

Does ‘EU-centred Europe’ (Calhoun 2009 Calhoun, C. 2009. “Cosmopolitan Europe and European Studies.” In The Sage Handbook of European Studies, edited by C. Rumford, 637654. London: Sage. [Google Scholar], 645) have cosmopolitan potential, as CE theorists claim? One argument in favour is that the EU, the most promising post-national organization, is a model for other world regions. Since it accepts the moral authority of the rule of law, democracy, human rights, and multilateralism, the EU could be a hopeful path towards global justice (Eriksen 2006 Eriksen, E. O. 2006. “The EU – A Cosmopolitan Polity?Journal of European Public Policy 13: 252269. doi:10.1080/13501760500451683.[Taylor & Francis Online][Google Scholar], 260–266). Also, although the current EU is not Kantian-cosmopolitan, considering its inconsistent application of the freedoms of cosmopolitan right and the laws of hospitality to non-EU citizens and its outward human rights policies as distorted by dubious economic behaviour, a ‘truly cosmopolitan EU’ is believed to be possible once ‘these issues are more clearly addressed within the EU debate’ (Brown 2014 Brown, G. W. 2014. “The European Union and Kant’s Idea of Cosmopolitan Right: Why the EU Is Not Cosmopolitan.” European Journal of International Relations 20: 671693. doi:10.1177/1354066113482991. [Google Scholar], 687).

Yet serious grounds for scepticism also exist. Firstly, a cosmopolitan political community has never been a European integration priority (Baban 2013 Baban, F. 2013. “Cosmopolitan Europe: Border Crossings and Transnationalism in Europe.” Global Society 27: 217235. doi:10.1080/13600826.2012.762344.[Taylor & Francis Online][Google Scholar], 220). Also, contemporary cosmopolitans tend to regard Kantian hospitality as ‘a thin requirement of the responsibility we have towards each other as human beings’ (234). Moreover, there are the embarrassing consequences of the common agricultural policy: the EU’s consistently highest item of expenditure by far with high external tariffs, high export subsidies, and internal price support. This policy of food self-sufficiency has distorted the world food market, undermined the ability of poor countries to export their own agricultural products, and seriously contributed to global poverty (Malcolm 1995 Malcolm, N. 1995. “The Case against ‘Europe’.” Foreign Affairs 47: 5268. doi:10.2307/20047042. [Google Scholar], 56–58; Blair [2005] 2010 Blair, A. [2005] 2010. The European Union since 1945. Harlow: Pearson. [Google Scholar], 33–37; Caney 2006 Caney, S. 2006. “Global Justice: From Theory to Practice.” Globalizations 3: 121137. doi:10.1080/14747730600702816.[Taylor & Francis Online][Google Scholar], 127–128; Pogge 2010 Pogge, T. W. 2010. Politics as Usual: What Lies behind the Pro-Poor Rhetoric. Cambridge: Polity Press. [Google Scholar], 206).11 One could add: the European history of exclusion, persecution, misplaced superiority, and dark colonialism (cf. Pasture 2015 Pasture, P. 2015. “Formations of European Modernity: Cosmopolitanism, Eurocentrism and the Uses of History.” International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity 3: 7390. doi:10.18352/hcm.477. [Google Scholar]).View all notes Overall, the primary EU goal is ‘global peace and security of Europeans in a broad sense’, rather than ‘global distributive justice’ as a conventional cosmopolitan concept (De Beus and Mak 2001 De Beus, J., and J. Mak. 2001. “The Missing European Public: A Note on the Ethics and Politics of Contemporary European Integration.” Acta Politica 36: 339357. [Google Scholar], 348; Beitz [1979] 1999 Beitz, C. R. [1979] 1999. Political Theory and International Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [Google Scholar]). Thus, the EU as a regional polity is at least prima facie incompatible with cosmopolitan justice.

In this article, I aim to engage critically with the CE debate by discussing in more detail whether CE can be truly cosmopolitan. What I offer is a moral cosmopolitanism-based analysis of EU-centred CE, that is, a normative analysis that employs cosmopolitanism as a perspective on the question of the scope and content of moral obligation. Arguably, such an inquiry fits with the individualist egalitarianism of the (European) Enlightenment culture (Beitz 1999 Beitz, C. R. 1999. “Social and Cosmopolitan Liberalism.” International Affairs 75: 515529. doi:10.1111/1468-2346.00091. [Google Scholar], 518, 529). Specifically, the great inequalities in resources and wealth that characterize our ecologically limited world suggest a closer analysis of the friction between the EU – the centre of dominant CE – and global distributive justice. Thus, an adequate assessment of EU-centred CE accounts calls for an answer to the question whether this tension is merely prima facie or actually stronger. To this end, I treat the EU as a project of European unification, understanding it essentially as a historically developed, distinctive politico-economic organization that features core principles to be maintained by a characteristic set of institutions, laws, and policies.

Yet my adoption of a moral perspective requires further clarification, as several scholars involved in CE theorizing have criticized moral cosmopolitanism, its dominance notwithstanding, for being unduly abstract and individualist (Delanty 2006 Delanty, G. 2006. “The Cosmopolitan Imagination: Critical Cosmopolitanism and Social Theory.” British Journal of Sociology 57: 2547. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2006.00092.x. [Google Scholar], 28–29; Calhoun 2009 Calhoun, C. 2009. “Cosmopolitan Europe and European Studies.” In The Sage Handbook of European Studies, edited by C. Rumford, 637654. London: Sage. [Google Scholar], 653). I do submit that the conventional view of the at least ordinarily overriding nature of moral considerations against other (e.g. self-interested, religious, legal) ones in determining how one should act holds for global as well as domestic relations (Stroud 1998 Stroud, S. 1998. “Moral Overridingness and Moral Theory.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79: 170189. doi:10.1111/papq.1998.79.issue-2. [Google Scholar]; Beitz [1979] 1999 Beitz, C. R. [1979] 1999. Political Theory and International Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [Google Scholar], especially 4–5, 179). Still, while my approach assumes the general academic primacy of (moral or political) philosophy, no matter how abstract or individualist its findings, it should not rule out the possibility that CE theorists offer convincing EU-related arguments for relativizing moral cosmopolitanism, since cosmopolitanism is contested (Miller 2007 Miller, D. 2007. National Responsibility and Global Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Google Scholar], 23) and morality not always overruling. Then again, it could also be the case that CE theorizing itself shows moral shortcomings in this respect. Either way, the specific arguments of CE theorists must be addressed, too.

My thesis will be that leading, EU-centred CE is morally flawed for uncritically presupposing the fundamental acceptability of the EU as a project that actually clashes with cosmopolitan justice. I will offer a threefold argument for this thesis. First, morally, cosmopolitanism is to be understood as a particularism-critical position that, as a result, includes an emphasis on global distributive justice. Thus, here I explain what, more exactly, I take moral cosmopolitanism to mean. Second, from this moral cosmopolitan perspective, the EU is unjust for epitomizing ‘enlarged particularism’. Thus, turning to the centre of prevailing CE, I argue that the EU is incompatible with cosmopolitan justice as explained in the first argument. Third, the main social-theoretical and political-theoretical views of CE are unduly conservative for neglecting – neither acknowledging nor refuting – cosmopolitan justice while taking the EU’s basic defensibility as obvious. Thus, I complete my CE critique by showing that these views display no awareness of the tension between the EU and cosmopolitan justice, but actually and unconvincingly endorse the former at the expense of the latter. I will conclude by suggesting that CE could only be an ‘idealistically utopian’, radically bottom-up view that advocates EU de-integration in favour of Europe-wide cooperation for a world more just in a cosmopolitan sense. Thus, I propose that CE should abandon its EU-centredness by becoming a cosmopolitan movement ‘from below’. Overall, without offering a full independent defence of moral cosmopolitanism, I argue that cosmopolitans should reject ‘cosmopolitan Europe’ insofar as that is EU-based. read all

fonte:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16544951.2017.1291566

 

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