Ten years ago Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor wrote his master piece “A Secular Age”. Since then a lot has changed and it seems that not only is religion back as a spiritual, quiet force but also as a determing, clamant factor in global politics. Religous and quasi-religious narratives alike shape the identity of the people, such as the painting by Delacroix in the picture above has shaped the French narrative. We sat down with Professor Taylor to discuss the state of world affairs.
Colin Crouch a few years ago shocked the public with the analysis in his book “Post-Democracy”, claiming that our political order is in heavy decay. Nowadays he may think, due to Brexit and the Trump election, his prediction has in fact come true and even faster than expected. We were talking with the man who may have new predictions for the UK election and the exit from Brexit.
Homero Aridjis is a Mexican poet, journalist and diplomat. Besides critically acclaimed (and frankly beautiful) poetry, he is known for his thought-through and independent views. Aridjis has previously been the Mexican ambassador to the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UNESCO.
SLD: What has the US-Mexican relationship been like over the last sixty years?
Aridjis: Well, if you look at societal, economic or political relationships, it seems as if the US always has been a bully in this relationship. It started in 1845, when Mexico lost half its country to the US. In that war, the US gained some previously Mexican states, for example what now is Arizona or New Mexico. Ever since then, you have had Mexican people live in the US, they were foreigners on their own soil. They were discriminated against, both racially and socially.
Danielle S. Allen is an American political scientist. A professor in the Government Department at Harvard University, she also serves as the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Allen sits on the Pulitzer Prize board and is author of several books.
SLD: With the US’ recent travel ban, thousands of students were affected and unable to return to their schools. On a larger scale – how can academia influence the government’s policy-making?
Allen: It is a challenge, admittedly. You have litigation strategies, no doubt. But you also must work closely with the administration to figure out how to make both the country and the universities happy.
Philip Gorski is an American Sociologist in the areas of religious and historical Sociology. He is the Co-Director of Yale’s Center for Comparative Research (CCR), and co-runs the Religion and Politics Colloquium at the Yale MacMillan Center. He sat down with Alexander Görlach to talk about the role of religion in the public sphere.
SLD:Politics and religion are back on stage. Why is it that a res publica like the United States of America or European countries such as Austria, Poland or England never cease invoking religious rhetoric and inventory?
Gorski: Religious and national identities tend to be very entangled with each other. In some instances, this is quite explicit. Many Americans consider the US a “Christian nation.” Many Poles consider their country a “Catholic nation.”
“Populism exists because institutions are elite-driven”, but democracies don’t work well without elites, says the acclaimed author of The End of History, Francis Fukuyama in an interview with Alexander Görlach at Stanford University.
SLD: How would you sum up the last year? What has happened to the world order?
Fukuyama: The big surprise is that this wave of populist nationalism has happened in the home territory of classic, liberalist Anglo-Saxon areas. For the first time, at least in my time, there is a president who openly dismisses America’s role in a liberal world order. The other problem with Donald Trump is his utter lack of qualification for the job, be it preparation, character or temperament. Nothing since his inauguration has eased any of those concerns, either…
By Thomas Weber
Throughout the American election campaign, journalist Ron Rosenbaum resisted media requests to draw parallels between Donald Trump and the subject of his 1998 bestseller Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of his Evil. Yet everything has changed for Rosenbaum since the day of Trump’s inauguration as 45th President of the United States of America. In a recent piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books, he urged his readers to look at the striking similarities of Hitler and Trump in power.
By Justine Kolata
Justine Kolata received her BA from Yale University in philosophy and her MPhil from The University of Cambridge in politics. She is currently pursuing a PhD in German Philosophy at The University of Cambridge on enlightenment salon culture and conceptions of “a beautiful soul” in the philosophy of Goethe and Schiller. She is founder and director of The Public Sphere, a cultural organization that works to revive Enlightenment salon culture and strengthen structures of participatory democracy. She is also co-founder and co-director of The Bildung Institute, an Institute which teaches the art of self-cultivation through ideas, culture, music, and the arts.
By Daniel Innerarity
Professor of Political Philosophy, Ikerbasque researcher at the University of the Basque Country and guest professor at Georgetown University. His most recent book is La política en tiempos de indignación (Politics in Times of Indignation).