Peaceproof through Discourse Ethical analysis? – Weapon of mass construction: The Internet
Given that the Internet has allowed a powerful global conversation to start and thus implies non-violence as well as being a platform for global voluntary cooperation, it should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. Although the prize itself is meaningless, it does have an undeniable symbolic value.
Now the analysis.
The Nobel Prize to Barack and “Scandinavian” as adjective:
One of the main reasons for Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize was his stand and preliminary work against the dispersion of nuclear weapons. Well let’s not forget that we, the world, are still facing many dangers that are not being fought against by any politician. Instead politicians ally themselves with them to set the discourse of the day, and this is true for most societies worldwide. So it’s fair to call these dangers for what they are: Press, Radio and Television = Weapons of mass destruction!
Well, as much as I was disappointed with the stupidity of the Nobel committee here in Oslo last year, I don’t blame them. I guess Thorbjørn Jagland, chair of the committee, wanted to shake hands with Barack and play the cool kid in front of the world. To me that is not surprising coming from him. In my eyes he is a poster child of the manic Scandinavian obsession with and speciality for organizing peace and freedom. He also represents the historical, and current, Scandinavian pushing for the creation (notice where the first 2 UN Secretary General are from) of a One World government. And as any politician or person of power, he likes to show off. Period.
In second though, the peace organizing behavior might actually be driven by guilt or might just be categorized as schizophrenic as the track record of Scandinavian countries (read Norway and Sweden specifically) is not as peaceful or uneventful as you might think. But please, don’t get me wrong. I love Norway and the other Scandinavian countries and their people, I just want us to acknowledge collectively that we are acting sanctimoniously. If we are to change things we have to recognize mere facts first!
So before you get me going with my rant and I bore you to death: The Internet has allowed individuals from al parts of the globe to communicate and in the process it has changed the way we think of ourselves, people around us, country borders and the world itself. I guess we can link this to the idea of the Internet being a global conversation driven by argumentation, and this does not only apply to markets, but also has political and social implications. Thus, Discourse ethics can seem to be a valid tool to search for interpersonal relations and moral implications in this global polilogue of ours.
Not surprisingy, as I have taken my stand, I will take a libertarian approach and analize if this global conversation actually has brought us some amount of peace or, at least, less violence. Anyway far less damage than Nobel’s invention.
From Wikipedia’s article about Discourse Ethics:
Drawing on the work of Habermas and Apel, Hoppe, a former student of Habermas’s, asserts that argumentation, or discourse, is by its nature a conflict-free way of interacting and requires individual control of resources; thus, he argues, certain norms are presupposed as true by anyone engaging in genuine discourse. These norms include the libertarian principle of non-aggression, which itself implies libertarian rights. Therefore, no one can argumentatively deny libertarian rights without self-contradiction.
Now let’s see Gary B. Madison’s analysis on the subject:
“the various values defended by liberalism are not arbitrary, a matter of mere personal preference, nor do they derive from some natural law. . . . Rather, they are nothing less and nothing more than what could be called the operative presuppositions or intrinsic features and demands of communicative rationality itself. In other words, they are values that are implicitly recognized and affirmed by everyone by the very fact of their engaging in communicative reason. This amounts to saying that no one can rationally deny them without at the same time denying reason, without self-contradiction, without in fact abandoning all attempts to persuade the other and to reach agreement.”
These implicitly recognized values include a renunciation of the legitimacy of violence. Thus,
“it is absolutely impossible for anyone who claims to be rational, which is to say human, outrightly to defend violence …. [As Paul Ricoeur writes:]’. . . violence is the opposite of discourse. . . . Violence is always the interruption of discourse: discourse is always the interruption of violence.’ That violence is the opposite of discourse means that it can never justify itself—and is therefore not justifiable—for only through discourse can anything be justified. As the theory of rational argumentation and discussion, liberalism amounts, therefore, to a rejection of power politics.”
Thus, Madison, like Hoppe, argues that the fact-value gap can be bridged by an appeal to the nature of discourse.
While Hoppe attempts to show that the non-aggression principle (i.e., self-ownership plus the right to homestead) itself is directly implied by any discourse or argumentation, Madison’s arguments are a bit different. For instance, he argues that, because discourse has priority over violence, this validates the Kantian claim that people ought to be treated as ends rather than means, which is the principle of human dignity. The principle of freedom from coercion then follows from the principle of human dignity.
Out of this we can derive, among others, that the internet is just the platform for this global argumentation, and it’s infrastructure hosts the reflection of this argumentation as text. But the conversation itself is driven by its users. All of them.
So, give the Nobel Peace Prize to all of us, to humanity that always finds ways to do what we have evolved ourselves to be best at: cooperate!
Go back to the top for the conclusion.
I know this whole analysis is quite naive, but I had to get it out of the system.
Thanks for reading!