Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm just going to ask a few questions I found particularly interesting from the reading.

This book was written in 1991. At the end of the book, Glendon gives some both hope and caution given our (then) current status. She says that different groups are starting to be represented in politics, that we still have family discussions, that there are avenues for change. Given that,

1.) Where are we now? Are we any better at discussing important political issues? Can someone more familiar with the judiciary talk about whether we've started looking more to international law?

2.) Modes of communication. Do our public forums lend themselves to deliberation? The biggest change I can think of since Glendon's time is the internet. Are blogging, facebook, or other means of communication better? It seems, in some ways, like they allow us to stay farther away from each other; then again, is anything that "gets people talking" advantageous?

3.) Glendon openly critiques liberal political philosophy for being too afraid to criticize or pass judgment. I agree, believing as she argues throughout these chapters that we need to maerry (no pun intended) the ideas of liberalism and community. Is this descriptive of our current political climate--that we won't critique? Have we fallen dogmatically in line with Mill?

4.) So, if a politician, lets call him Barry Ohama, were to plead to us, "what can I do to get you involved in public deliberation," what do you say to him? What factors/actors currently exist that inhibit deliberation? What would it take to get around those?


  1. I'll bite on your Supreme Court question. The answer is no. The Court is still extremely reluctant to cite international law or decisions of other courts. Some justices (Kennedy, in particular, I believe) have tried to expand the use of foreign law, but they have met resistance from other justices and particularly members of Congress who claim that we shouldn't cite international law because those norms are not binding on Americans; thus, to cite international law is to appeal to something that is irrelevant.

  2. Mike, I like your comment because I think it elucidates exactly what Glendon is saying. I mean, about Congress claiming that international norms are not binding on Americans, illustrates this individualistic-attitude that has perhaps, distorted, our rights rhetoric, or at least taken it into another direction. No wonder our discourse is so inflated if we don't believe that international norms do not pertain to us, yet, at the same time expect other countries to follow international law that we help to create by being a member (that possesses voting capacity) of the U.N.