Liberal Principles and Minority Rights
Liberal Principles and Minority Rights BY shax0521 We live in a world with differences, biases and hindrances we tend to take into account to be able to cope up with the changes happening around us. These differences could be between races,religion, culture, language, etc. But within a country, these differences also exist. Most countries are composed of diversed culture that divides the society to the majority and the minorities that establishes cultural differences related problems. It is often heard that minorities are deprived from certain freedom and the majority avails most of the best previleges that could e given.
Minorities are often Judged by different steoreotypes and prejudices that establishes conflict between the groups. The main point of Prof. Hans Ingvar Roth, head of the sweden research team of the University of Lund in his article “Liberal Principles and Minority rights,” minority groups particularly in a liberal democratic society should be able to deal with the existing problems confronting their existence and culture in relation to the liberal principles through group-targeted measures.
Liberal Principles and Minority Rights Essay Example
These group-targeted measures will be further explained throughout the article critique. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief summary of Roth’s article Liberal Principles and Minority Rights, what are the liberal principles of a liberal democratic society how it affects the condition of the minorities and my point of view as a reader. It will also tackle the different features of a liberal society, the problems encountered by minorities and the possible solution to the problems. In other words, the life of the minorities in a liberal democratic society.
According to Roth, inequalities in modern western societies are faced by the inorities particularly ethnic, racial and religious which sometimes seen to result to discrimination. The minorities are confronted by social, political and cultural inequalities which were percieved to be the consequences as a memberofa liberal democratic society. Moreover, the majority enjoys the benefits and priveleges that were given by the society. In relation to this, to know the reason why these inequalities occur, we must know the grass roots of this condition. Roth stated in his article his definition ofa liberal democratic society.
According to him, “a liberal democratic society is charcterized by the certain institutions or norms that are seen among many of its citizens as essential guidelines for the organization of society. ” A liberal democratic society has its liberal principles namely, majoritarian democracy, free moblity, market economy, meritocracy and neutrality. The first principle is the majoritarian democracy or the rule of many . This concept of democracy implies disadvantages to the minorities because literally, it shows how minorities are outnumbered by the majority in terms of their cultural survival.
As stated in the article, this idea of democracy have serious consequences for defenseless minorities. Furthermore, another liberal principle which is a burden to minorities is free mobility where people get to move freely without any intent hindrances but it has its limit in reality. Roth expounded it as the ideal of open borders for refugees from non- european countries in contrast to the migration policies implemented on various principle is the easy access of majority population into minority territories that could threaten the cultural survivability of the latter which is also dependent upon its eography.
Moreover, the market economy as a principle which assumes freedom of choice that is considered to be the prevailing model for arranging economic activities systems in liberal societies. Roth added that according to many of his critics, the market economy could lead the majority to cultural supremacy over the minorities where the former has more access to important resources that could affect the cultural life of a country. It is considered to be the most efficient among other economic systems. Another liberal principle is meritocracy.
According to Roth, merit should administer the appropriation of employment and places in higher education. This implies that the majority will dominate the labour-market of the society and eventually earn the highest ranks in offices. This would result to the alienation of the minorities in any encounter of several forms of higher education because the majority gets the best priveleges they could have in the society. In addition, Roth cited another principle which is neutrality or even-handedness.
This occurs when the government doesnt interfere with certain policy decisions uided by religious views or substantial philiosophies of life and this kind of action implies contradiction to relgious minorities and securalism in some way influence the society. The abovementioned principles in any circumstances could stand in conflict with one another. As we have tackled the 5 principles of a liberal democratic society, it is also important to know some features of this kind of society which could have significant consequences on the cultural standing of different minorities in the society.
The first feature is lingua franca which refers to having a common language in the society for he people have one language they could use to communicate with each other. Roth stated in his article that the language is an important element for the cultural identity of a group. Eventually, the language of the majority will be the lingua franca due to its long history in the country and the minorities must accept it and use to be able to communicate with others.
However, this doesn’t mean that the languages from the minorities cannot be recognized as official languages in significant bailiwick of society such as education or law. Another feature of a liberal democratic society is nation building. Roth referred it as the creation of various institutions, traditions and spheres of society in which it will be affected by the long history of the majority group. In this case, it stresses that even without ethnic or cultural nationalism; the majority culture is advantageous because of its historical standing in the society.
According to Roth, cultural preservation of minority groups depend on the members itself. They should have the best interest in maintaining and preserving their culture. A part from Roth’s article tackled about the shared values in the ulticultural debate for minority rights where possessing a secure cultural belonging could be valuable in a way that it is an important condition to an individual well being or it could be a crucial part of a one’s personal identity or as a framework adapting the majority’s culture and integration or affiliate with the majority on the other side.
However, they have one common view that minority groups should not face anu unfair or excessive burdens in maintaining their cultures. Furthermore, if a minority group had encountered am intense discrimination from the other groups in he society, they should pay for the serious cultural disadvantage that the minority group faces. In other words, cultural diversity should be reagarded as a valuable objective for the whole society and a shared public responsibility to secure the preservation of the minority culture.
However, if a certain minority in question have encountered no grim history of discrimination, and its cultural changes was due to voluntary change of its own members, it conditions become more unclear. The members itself should pay the price of maintaining or preserving their culture given hat they have been attracted to the majority culture. In addition, the majority is not coerced to share a costs of preserving that particular minority. As discussed earlier, there are ethnic and religious minorities in a society and their situation could be less favourable in certain conditions.
Roth emphasized in his article that cultural influence by the majority usually occurs to the minorities that live in so-called open agricultural territories, small in size and the history of discrimination. Furthermore, it was stressed that shared language, religion and a istory of discrimination or an idea of geographical location make the minorit group maintain their culture. There are minority groups that prefer to attain independence and others to lower their claims and instead strive for various forms of cultural autonomy.
In the entire article, the two main problems of minorities in relation to the liberal principles are cultural preservation and problems of integration. According to him, “problems of preservation arise when liberal principles such as free mobility and the endorsement of a market economy may threaten a traditional form of community life. Due to the dominance of the majority in terms of size, resources and historical standing, these principles work to their cultural advantage. Furthermore, the practice of having a lingua franca gives more disadvantage to the minorities in terms of preservation of their own language.
The abovementioned problems has its group-targeted measures so that the minority culture will survive. These are metaphors “the fence,” “the ladder,” “the springboard” and “the plane. ” With these meaures, there could be a continous existence of minority groups in liberal democratic societies. Through “the fence” it ould take form of exceptions from laws that burden traditional cultural practices or even property rights that would prevent majority population from buying lands from the minority territories.
In addition, Roth used the cultural autonomy with regards to certain forms of legislation such as family as an example of a fence which protects the minority from being influenced by the family customs of the majority. Another measure is “the ladder” wherein group representation should be practiced by religious and ethnic groups in order to have a level of representation in the society. This metaphor can neutralize and attenuate unfair thresholds or hindrances such as blind spots, various forms of animosity, stereotypes and nepotism.
To be able to gain entrance in the main sphere of society in spite of the diminish this hindrances in the remote future. The first measure or method is called “the springboard” that would present opportunities to minorities such as labour market and higher education in instances that they face discrimination and prJudices in the society. According to Roth, the springboard is not enough for minorities to be able to enter to such society that is hy “the plane” was created. It is considered to be the supplementary method of the springboard.
It aims to alter engrained and stubborn attitudes and habits among the majority population through information campaigns and cross-cultural meeting places. From what I understand in the Roth’s article, inequalities of minorities in the society are caused by the liberal principles. I agree on it due to the different situations presented in the article. These principles namely majoritarian democracy, free mobility, meritocracy, market economy and neutrality are advantageous to the ajority population and affect the minority’s cultural preservation.
The article’s premises are still valid according to the current situations in most western countries. His interpretation of the evidences presented were likely to lead us to the same conclusion that the liberal principles should be improved rather than to replace them with something different in order to solve such inequalities in such society. His arguments regarding the disadvantages of the minorities in the society such as the lingua franca where the majority’s language will be the official language of the ociety and meritocracy where the majority gets the highest ranks in the offices had the biggest impact to me which I agree on.
If we compare it to the philippines, a non- liberal democratic country but compose of a majority and minorities, due to the geographical boundary and size of population of christians with tagalog as their language is considered to be the official language of the country, officially called as “Filipino’ and in terms of meritocracy, the muslims as a minority experience biases regarding employment in government and other fields of offices because of different stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination.