Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Politics Of Friends & Enemies

While in the tribal society the condition of internal peace is the devotion of all members to some common visible purposes, and therefore to the will of somebody who can decide what at any moment these purposes are to be and how they are to be achieved, the Open Society of free men becomes possible only when the individuals are constrained only to obey the abstract rules that demarcate the domain of the means that each is allowed to use for his purposes.  So long as any particular ends, which in a society of any size must always be the ends of some particular persons or group, are regarded as a justification of coercion, there must always arise conflicts between groups with different interests.  Indeed, so long as particular purposes are the foundation of political organization, these whose purposes are different are inevitably enemies; and it is true that in such a society politics necessarily is dominated by the friend-enemy relation.  Rules of just conduct can become the same for all only when particular ends are not regarded as justification for coercion (apart from such special passing circumstances as war, rebellion or natural catastrophes). [The Mirage of Social Justice, p. 143]

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