A Matter of Security? Conscientious Objection and State Recognition

Recognition of the right to refuse military service seems at first glance to be inherently paradoxical. Yet over the course of recent decades, with the broadening of democratic discourse, democracies have begun to recognize even opposition to military service on grounds of conscience—whether religious or otherwise. Continue reading

Traits of Authoritarianism in Global Governance

The concept of global governance is commonly associated with the redeeming virtue of a pluralization of political authority beyond the nation state which has gained prominence in the second half of the 20th century. International law is cheered for imposing limits on the otherwise unfettered state voluntarism for which the ‘Westphalian’ state system has been notorious. Continue reading

“It Is True That Some Divisions Are Harmful to Republics and Some Are Helpful”: On Factions, Parties, and the History of a Controversial Distinction

Partisanship, it is often said, involves efforts to harness political power not for the benefit of one social group among several but for that of the polity as a whole, as this benefit is identified through a particular (but not partial) interpretation of the public good. In this sense partisan practices differ from the activity of factions, although for a very long time the two were assimilated to each other. Continue reading

Civil Liberty in Crisis? Evidence from a Comparative Empirical Study

Is there a fundamental trade-off between collective security and individual liberty? This question is by no means a new one for democratic societies. Long before the Islamist terror threat scenarios of the 2000s, Western democracies had been menaced by domestic terrorism, violent separatism, and organized crime and their reaction was always the same: security laws were tightened, new tools for keeping citizens under surveillance were created, the rights of suspects, accused persons, and convicts were restricted. Continue reading

World Peace through Law as the Grand Solution? On the History of Nineteenth Century Interstate Arbitration

Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace (1795) might still be the most renowned philosophical voice that outlines – with mild irony – the relevance of the law (of nations) for “World Peace”. Borrowing from Kant’s insight that “war … is only the sad recourse in the state of nature (where there is no tribunal which could judge with the force of law)” (Sixth Preliminary Article), the nineteenth century saw an increasing number of successful attempts by scholars, politicians, and peace activists to put into practice third-party tribunals which arbitrated disputes between states by drawing on international law. Continue reading

Europe’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – A Market Endeavor?

What does market regulation have to do with the formation of an EU policy Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ), a domain so inherently connected with human rights protection and constitutional safeguards? After all, the hallmark of the AFSJ project is that of the suppression of crime, terrorism and of ensuring a high level of security throughout Europe, far removed from the essentials of the EU internal market and its insistence on economic freedoms. Continue reading