29 March 2011


A right is a claim to autonomy. 
Every right implies a duty on the autonomous agent to exercise the authority that signifies the autonomy. For any authority to become legitimate, the rights of the several autonomous agents have to have a way of coalescing into a single, corporate expression. 
There is where the duty comes in. Your duty translates into my legitimacy. Your failure to do your duty disables me from exercising my authority legitimately. Absent your doing your duty, my authority degrades into the exercise of honor, which does not require your cooperation for me to establish it; indeed, I can impose my honor against your will by exercising raw power and making you 'cooperate' with me. 
In democracies people make relations by way of mutual exercise of duty and authority. In democracies social connection is about the exercise of autonomy. In republics the social connection leads not to factional in-fighting but to a public spiritedness where patriotism animates the workings of power. A republican democracy elevates the social connection every citizen has toward strangers and makes xenobia the foundation of the exercise of power. 
The Bible's emphasis on kindness to the stranger is not for the sake of the stranger but for the sake of the citizenry. The same can be said for America's responsibility to end racism: the end of racism is for the sake of White America, and not merely the Blacks. Indeed, the ending of racism is merely an application of the principle of xenobia, and how it tempers and challenges the muscles of political power-wielding to make a society strong. 

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