Friday, November 25, 2011

Der Spiegel: "Habermas, the Last European"

In the German weekly "Der Spiegel" (November 21, 2011), Georg Diez writes about Jürgen Habermas's struggle for a democratic EU - "Schluss jetzt!"

An English translation of the article is available on "Der Spiegel"s international website:

"Habermas, the Last European: A Philosopher's Mission to Save the EU"

"I'm speaking here as a citizen," he says. "I would rather be sitting back home at my desk, believe me. But this is too important. Everyone has to understand that we have critical decisions facing us. That's why I'm so involved in this debate. The European project can no longer continue in elite modus." (....) " I condemn the political parties. Our politicians have long been incapable of aspiring to anything whatsoever other than being re-elected. They have no political substance whatsoever, no convictions."

Habermas wants to get his message out. That's why he's sitting here [at a debate in Paris]. That's why he recently wrote an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, in which he accused EU politicians of cynicism and "turning their backs on the European ideals." That's why he has just written a book -- a "booklet," as he calls it -- which the respected German weekly Die Zeit promptly compared with Immanuel Kant's 1795 essay "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch."

"Sometime after 2008," says Habermas over a glass of white wine after the debate, "I understood that the process of expansion, integration and democratization doesn't automatically move forward of its own accord, that it's reversible, that for the first time in the history of the EU, we are actually experiencing a dismantling of democracy. I didn't think this was possible. We've reached a crossroads."

The debate took place at the Goethe Institute in Paris on November 12. See my post here.

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