The Liberty of the Post-Moderns? Market and Civic Freedom within the EU
University College London - Department of Political Science
May 1, 2009
LSE ‘Europe in Question’ Discussion Paper Series, LEQS 01/2009
Taking its cue from Benjamin's Constant's famous essay, this article uses the case of EU citizenship to explore how far ancient, civic, freedom can be combined with modern, market, freedom. Many commentators have, in different ways, argued that the forces promoting European integration call for a new form of post-national citizenship that either builds civic freedom on the basis of the liberties of the moderns or does away with the need for it altogether. These arguments are disputed. Constant perceptively raised a number of problems with this analysis, while ignoring - or being ignorant of - a number of others. As he noted, ancient liberty corrects various pathologies and lacunas of modern liberty, but he overlooked the degree to which its survival rested on the continuing importance of certain pre-modern forms of social solidarity in modern times. Those seeking new forms of post-modern citizenship tend to ignore one or other or both these points. The piece concludes by arguing that the only practical way of combining ancient and modern liberty within the EU is to view it as a particularly intense form of international cooperation between democratic states rather than as a supranational organisation that transcends its component parts.
NB This is a first draft of a subsequently much revised paper: 'The Liberty of the Moderns?: Market Freedom and Democracy within the EU' forthcoming in Global Constitutionalism
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: EU, Liberty, Constant, Citizenship
Date posted: January 3, 2010 ; Last revised: January 3, 2012
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