Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: freedom, John Gray, political philosophy
There’s more than one way to have freedom, writes John Gray the British political philosopher. Freedom isn’t guaranteed only through the political regime you happened to grow up in, and like the best – sorry. The idea that only one type of society will allow freedom to flourish is not only hopelessly idealistic, but it also comes at the problem from the wrong way, says Gray. Freedoms aren’t elements in a totalizing world system; they are, rather, principles that define, and by which we measure, any reasonable society.
To affirm that humans thrive in many different ways is not to deny that there are universal human values. Nor is it to reject the claim that there should be universal human rights. It is to deny that universal values can only be fully realized in a universal regime. Human rights can be respected in a variety of regimes, liberal and otherwise. Universal human rights are not an ideal constitution for a single regime throughout the world, but a set of minimum standards for peaceful coexistence among regimes that will always remain different.
– John Gray, Two Faces of Liberalism
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