“Contrary to a widespread misunderstanding, ‘constitutional patriotism’ means that the citizens make the principles of the constitution their own not merely in an abstract sense but also in the concrete historical context of their respective national histories. The cognitive approach does not go far enough if the moral contents of basic rights are to gain a foothold in convictions. Moral insights and worldwide agreement in reactions of moral outrage against gross violations of human rights alone would ensure only the paper-thin integration of the citizens into a politically constituted world society (should it one day come into existence). A solidarity among citizens, however abstract and legally mediated, develops only when the principles of justice become woven into the more finely spun web of cultural values.
….In light of the foregoing reflections, the secular character of the constitutional state does not exhibit any internal weakness inherent in the political system as such that jeopardizes its ability to stabilize itself in a cognitive or motivational sense. This does not exclude external reasons. An uncontrolled modernization of society as a whole could certainly corrode democratic bonds and undermine the form of solidarity on which the democratic state depends even through it cannot enforce it. Then the very constellation that Böckenförde has in mind would transpire, namely, the transformation of the citizens of prosperous and peaceful liberal societies into isolated, self-interested monads who use their individual liberties exclusively against one another like weapons. Evidence of such a corrosion of civic solidarity can be found in the larger context of the politically uncontrolled dynamics of the global economy and global society.
Markets, which, unlike state administrations, cannot be democratized, are increasingly assuming regulatory functions in domains of life that used to be held together by norms-in other words, by political means or through prepolitical forms of communication. Not only are private spheres as a consequence of becoming increasingly recalibrated to the mechanisms of instrumental action guided by individual preferences but the domain open to public legitimation pressures is also shrinking. Civic privatism is being reinforced by the discouraging loss of function of a mode of democratic opinion- and will-formation that in the meantime operates more or less satisfactorily only within national arenas, with the result that decision-making processes that have been displaced onto supranational levels are now beyond its reach. The fading hope in the political capacity of the international community is also promoting the trend toward the depoliticization of citizens. In the light of the conflicts and glaring social injustices of a highly fragmented global society, the disappointment is growing with every additional setback to the process of constitutionalization of international law initiated after 1945.
Postmodern theories frame these crises in terms of a critique of reason. They do not see them as a function of the selective exploitation of the rational resources implicit in Western modernity but as the logical result of a self-destructive program of intellectual and social rationalization” (Habermas 2009:107-108).
2009 Between Naturalism and Religion. Ciaran Cronin, trans. Cambridge, Polity Press.
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