Whose Democracy?: Nationalism, Religion, and the Doctrine of Collective Rights in Post-1989 Eastern Europe

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Rowman & Littlefield, 1997 - 233 pages
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The years since the collapse of communism in 1989 have witnessed a dangerous renewal of religious intolerance and nationalist demands across Eastern Europe. In this provocative application of moral philosophy to contemporary political processes, Sabrina P. Ramet draws upon the literature of Natural Law to demonstrate that liberal democracy depends on a delicate balance between individual and societal rights. Appeals to the collective rights of national and religious groups rest on spurious claims, as Ramet convincingly shows in her analysis of the situations of Hungarians in Slovakia, Albanians in Kosovo, theoretically inclined Catholic bishops in Poland, Serbs in Croatia, and contending forces in post-Dayton Bosnia. What Ramet calls the doctrine of collective rights actually subverts the liberal democratic project, legitimating instead intolerance and group exclusivity.

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Back to the Future in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europes Painful Transition
The New Ethnarchy and Theories of Rights
Theocratic Impulses in Poland
The Struggle for Collective Rights in Slovakia
The Albanians of Kosovo
Collective Rights in the Dialectic of History
About the Author

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Page 11 - It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.
Page 11 - By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
Page 11 - It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil : the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority, that is, of the society...
Page 11 - There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction : the one, by removing its causes ; the other, by controlling its effects. There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction : the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence ; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.
Page 16 - It is of the utmost importance that people should be organized because only so do they become mighty and powerful. Otherwise, they are nothing but a heap, an aggregate of atomic units. Only when the particular associations are organized members of the state are they possessed of legitimate power.

About the author (1997)

Sabrina P. Ramet is professor of political science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

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