Negative Freedom or Objective Good: A Recurring Dilemma in the Foundations of Politics

In Taborska Halina & Wojciechowski Jan S. (eds.), Dokąd zmierza Europa – przywództwo – idee – wartości. Where Europe Is Going – Leadership – Ideas – Values. pp. 537-544 (2007)
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Abstract
Two competing models of metaaxiological justification of politics are analyzed. Politics is understood broadly, as actions which aim at organizing social life. I will be, first of all, interested in law making activities. When I talk about metaaxiological justification I think not so much about determinations of what is good, but about determinations refering to the way the good is founded, in short: determinations which answer the question why something is good. In the first model, which is described here as objectivistic, it is assumed that determining that which is good is a matter of cognition; in the second model, which could be described here as voluntaristic or excedingly liberal, it is assumed that determining good is not a matter of cognition but of will – something is good because it is wanted. In the latter model, the cognoscibility of good is rejected and therefore the objective criteria for evaluation of which ‘will’ is better and which is worse are rejected. As a consequence, negative freedom becomes the fundamental value of social order and the basic requirement is that of maximizing the sphere of individual’s free actions, the sphere which is free from interference of other individuals or institutions. I am going to argue that none of these models is acceptable as a basis of oragnizing social life, and at least because of one reason. Each of them leads to a certain version of totalitarianism. In the conclusion I am going to present a mixed model, which, in my opinion, reflexes well the practice of democratic states. Analysis of these three models allows, first of all, to identify more clearly some of the problems appearing in making law, including procedural questions. By pointing at the interdependence of the foundations of good and law making procedures it is argued that the choice of the concept of good (a metaaxiological choice) is primary to the choice of law making procedures.
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