World of Ideas and Politics
Table of contents:
Studies and analysis:
- Waldemar Rogowski: Thinking in element of liberty. Józef Tischner’s vision of liberty as determinants of liberal democracy
- Marcin Polakowski: John Gray’s views on modern and postmodern political projects
- Tomasz Kuczur: Contemporary interpretations of concept of „nation”- introduction to the subject
- Czesław Wodzikowski: A balanced development- from the idea to the politics
- Katarzyna Polus-Rogalska: Is it possible to create an entire theory of values?
- Adam Gwiazda: China's economic expansion in Africa
- Katarzyna Męcner: The role of modern Africa against North- South conflict. The world modern division and the problem with democracy
- Michał Paszkowski: Energy Security Policy of Japan
- Łukasz Jureńczyk: Bush’s view of fighting against terrorism focused on combat operations
- Paweł Raźny: Protection of candidates’ personal rights in election campaigns in 2005 and 2007
- Łukasz Janikowski: Civil competences of the students of Kazimierz Wielki University in the light of empirical research conducted in 2007
- Michał Kosman: The European Parliament - chosen aspects of its evolution
- Dorota Maria Dzierżek: Tomasz Kuczur, Ethnos i polities. Naród a społeczeństwo obywatelskie we współczesnej Europie
- Jarosław Nocoń: The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology, red. Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady, David Colier
- Filip Pierzchalski: Giorgio Agamben, Stan wyjątkowy
- Sławomir Sadowski: Martin van Creveld, Zmienne oblicze wojny. Od Marny do Iraku
Thinking in element of liberty. Józef Tischner’s vision of liberty as determinants of liberal democracy
Retrospective consideration of the Józef Tischner’s political writing permits us to think about him as a philosopher of liberty. He considered this idea as connected with man’s ability and activity in work altering world. The idea of liberty always was a subject of livery discussions. Tischner understood that liberal formulation of liberty is the most important and basic social value. However, philosopher from Cracov perceived that a freedom defined as an opportunity of unembarrassed man acting, it can also be a cause of his dilemmas, problems or fear, particularly during the political system transformation.
The Tischner’s Homo sovieticus caused the man nostalgia for power of communism and simultaneous the lack of responsibility for his own life. Liberty turned out with unfortunate gift. Also the representants of Catholic Church hierarchy distrustfully treated the liberal conception of liberty. Józef Tischner criticized these fears, defining his vision of liberty as way of the existence of good. The Tischner’s conception of positive liberty was an answer for a negative liberty presented by classic liberals. Cracovian thinker’s view enrolls in Christian thought, connected with objective norms as well as idea of common good. The good state idea should base on freedom instead of anarchy nor the negation of constitutional values, political orders introduced in man's life. It is necessary to build the social structures leaning on membership in social community and political structures based on law and idea of liberty.
John Gray’s views on modern and postmodern political projects
Gray identifies modernity as a political trend, which has reached its developed expression in the Enlightenment political project, based on a rational reconstruction of morality, the idea of progress, secularization of politics and applying natural sciences methods to studying politics. The decline of the political Enlightenment, however, effected in some political disasters of the 20th century and left emptiness in the ideological space of western politics. Enlightenment project of a universal civilization demystificate not only premodern conceptions of political order, but also undermine itself and broke main intelectual western traditions. Political postmodernism, which is answer to this situation, inherits also some western conceptions like humanism embodied in emancipations tendencies or universalization of the liberal order. According to Gray’s thought, only radical attempt to theorize without typical western prejudices can be appropriate answer to late modern political and social reality.
Contemporary interpretations of concept of „nation”- introduction to the subject
Variety and ambiguity of concepts, definitions and terms referring to “nation” is extremely vast. At the same time it is also constantly aggrandized by the researchers in the field themselves. While interpreting the concept they “apply” already existing views which leads to even greater chaos in selecting the basic categories necessary for defining the concept.
The concept of “nation” cannot be precisely pinpointed based only on experiences or on free decisions. At the same time it is not an absolute or static concept which sense can be defined once and it will never change. Nation, in some apprehension, is the same as the history of nations which can be defined as changing with time and space relation of “us” which leads to defined concept of “we”. Therefore in order to be able to understand “nation” we need to understand its “historic drama” in which the “nation” has been taking part. The problem with the above conclusion is that there is no nation’s drama as nations- there are rather dramas of individual nations. Therefore in order to define the nature of a nation one should infer from nations’ dramas, which is some kind of a historical abstraction, and which will always be treated as a “more or less” concept.
A balanced development- from the idea to the politics
In the sixties of the last century there appear the first publications and case studies challenging the current model of development. They pointed the global threats which it may cause. Interpenetration of these threats, causing in effect their strengthening, resulted in a real threat of an ecological catastrophe to an unprecedented scale, so far, because a global scale. The mankind began to realize that this is the effect of the existing trends in development of civilization which led to a huge disproportion between the desire of making the largest increase in production and consumption, and possibilities regarding the raw materials and regeneration of the Earth. The deepening divisions into the poor and rich were not without significance as well. Deepening of these factors led on one hand to the apathy and social pathologies, on the other hand - led to a new fanatical ideology creation, to the extremist movements and terrorism formation. A vision of a global outbreak of war with the use of mass destruction weapons was also terrifying. These phenomena, on account of the potential threats, became a subject of interest by the international politics run by the United Nations and its departments. As a result, there arose a new concept of a global development, which is now called a balanced development.
Is it possible to create an entire theory of values?
The considerations of scientists interested in political ethics about theory of values are related to the fields that aim to built an entire theory of axiological phenomena concerning history, sociology, political science and economy. (However, they do not explain all the moral problems.) In the article there are analyzed the definitions of values (with the moral evaluations) as well as the theories and systems of values. Besides, a classification of the contemporary ethical theories has been presented. The most important values are explain. It turns out that they do not must be treated with concrete social, political or economical assumptions. They emphasize, however -in majority- the independence, impartiality, value relativism and rationality of arguments. The most important of the contemporary theories of values are: the formalism, the utilitarism, the ethics of virtue and the ethics of love. After analyzing the sources, it seems that it is impossible yet to create an entire (one, general and universal) theory of values. Thus, the answer to the title question is negative.
China's economic expansion in Africa
In the recent years China has intensified its economic cooperation with the African countries in order to secure the new resource market. The trade between China and Africa has been expanding very quickly in the last few years and in September 2008, China's customs authorities released an estimate of the value of bilateral trade at more than 100 billion dollars. For comparison the value of bilateral trade between China and Africa was in 2001 only 10,8 billion dollars. There also has been an enormous inflow of the Chinese direct investment into Africa. The most spectacular case of such investment was the take-over in October 2007 by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of the "Big-Four" state owned banks, a 20% stake in South Africa's Standard Bank for 5,46 billion dollars. Earlier, in January 2006, state-controlled oil company China National Offshore Oil Corporation paid 2,3 billion dollars for a 45% stake in a Nigerian oil field.
China's economic expansion in Africa in viewed as the desire of that country to increase its presence on the black continent. Chinese authorities use the "noninterference" approach and are willing to form close partnerships with governments in Africa, which are considered unsavoury in the West, such as those of Sudan and Zimbabwe. Additionally, China's aid and trade packages are not tied to any requirements for reform or government transparency and therefore undermine - mostly Western - efforts to encourage good governence. There are, however some fears that China will be a neocolonialist and simply use Africa as a resource market, taking away raw materials and selling fishined goods back to Africa, leaving Africans with depleted resources and no industry. There also are concerns that Chinese factories and mines in Africa will either use large numbers of Chinese workers instead of locals, or underpay and exploit local workers. The leaders of African states are learning from economic cooperation with China how to manage the relationship with China and adapt some elements of the Chinese economic model, different from the Western model, which in Africa has not yielded much fruit. However the African states should shape the common policy vis-a-vis cooperation with China in order to secure the best possible advantages from that cooperation.
The role of modern Africa against North- South conflict. The world modern division and the problem with democracy
To sum up all the foregoing considerations, it can be stated that a limited degree of social identification, together with political elites, constitutes an indispensable element of the functioning of political systems and those democratic ones, as well. Unfortunately, Africa is still a place of alienation tendency, manifested by political elites, which constitutes a basis prone to social conflicts. However, Africa has to encounter difficulties resulting from long-term colonial oppression. The problem also concerns various religions, from Muslims, Christians to the faith in traditional tribal gods. All this is a consequence of historical past. In order to make the plans for its development work, Africa has to defeat its biggest enemies first – the problem of famine, constant conflicts and dozens of wasted opportunities to stabilize the continent. Africa is abundant with such natural resources that no other country has them. “ In the moment of creation of the world God felt tired with the creation process, so he sat down and fell asleep. When he set off to continue his journey, he noticed that he had left a bag full of natural resources, which had been destined for other continents. That is why we have all the natural resources from the periodic table, such as: copper, uranium, cobalt, gold, diamonds, bauxite and oil,” said Isidore Mavambu Matumona Charge d’Affaires of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What is also paradoxical, is the fact that Africa is the poorest continent of all, with civil wars, genocide, famine, lack of water and spreading disease, such as AIDS and malaria, which are considered to be world’s plagues. The solution to these problems lies in incorporating full stabilization in the continent.
The interest in Africa is slightly smaller than directly after decolonization and the famous year 1960. The Fall of the Berlin Wall, changes in the countries of Middle East Europe in 1989 and the collapse of USSR directed the interest towards Europe. Africa appears in the public eye, only when it comes to events such as those in Sudanese Darfur, Ruanda or Somalia.
Energy Security Policy of Japan
The article performs an analysis of current energy security policy of Japan and points to a geopolitical implications of this policy. At the same time paper presents current energy situation of Japan, emphasizing the importance of oil in the balance of energy in history and the present situation. The paper presents international activity of Japan in the area of the energy security policy, which main objective is to decrease of oil import from the Middle East. Paper discusses co-operation between Japan and the countries from the Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea and the Russian Federation as well as perspectives for changing the disadvantageous structure of import of oil.
Bush’s view of fighting against terrorism focused on combat operations
Military actions were supplemented by intelligence and police operations aimed at locating Al-Qaeda cells in various parts of the world and neutralising them. However, they were not the core of the undertaking. The war was actually started by the attack on Afghanistan conducted in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September. The conflict in Iraq was also carried out in the name of combating terrorism, however, it was just a bureaucratic reason for the intervention. The war itself led to an escalation of the phenomenon of world terrorism. President George W. Bush propagated messianic views stating that the war against terrorism was waged in the name of the God, while its aim was fighting evil in the world. The war was a realisation of the United States National Security Strategy guidelines of September 2002, which emphasized the significance of the preemptive war, increased unilateralism of American activities and the necessity to overthrow undemocratic regimes.
Protection of candidates’ personal rights in election campaigns in 2005 and 2007
An election campaign is an inseparable element in an election process. During this time candidates convince citizens to vote for them or they try to denigrate an opponent. Sometimes they use to lie to destroy the political rival’s image. An election law forbids doing such things, because it makes campaign unfair and it could infringe personal rights such as good name, repute or image.
An author in a first part of this article tries to answer such questions as: Which personal rights may be infringed in election campaign? What legal measures have candidates in parliamentary or presidential elections after the infringement of their rights? What are the rules of court procedure in these cases? Second part contains review of the most representative cases which have been considered by Polish courts during the campaigns in 2005 and 2007. Next the author enumerates advantages of presented regulations and suggests how they could be improved.
Civil competences of the students of Kazimierz Wielki University in the light of empirical research conducted in 2007
The main aim of this article, which is an effect of the empirical research, is to present political awareness and political activity of the students of Uniwersytet Kazimierza Wielkiego. What is more, the article presents young people’s perception and evaluation of politics, and gives the answer to the question of the place of politics in their lives. The reason of the research was to reveal the problem of subjectivity of the students in the field of politics.
The research and its results gave the opportunity to form a couple of conclusions. Negative perception of politics is reflected in low interests in political issues and politics itself. Nevertheless, interest can be found, but lies in watching political events rather than taking action. Consequently it results in the lack of activity in the socio-political life. Although the students are politically aware, their activity is limited to participation in general or local election. They also follow political news. What is more a negative attitude towards the word “politics” and lack of fundamental political knowledge among students can be noticed.
The European Parliament – chosen aspects of its evolution
The goal of the article is the presentation of the chosen aspects of the evolution of the European Parliament. The author presents the beginnings of this body in the structure of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. The leitmotiv of the article is to show the increase of the importance of the European Parliament during almost 60 years of its existence, from the advisory body to the co-deciding institution in the area of legislation of the European Community. The important manifestation of the European Parliament’s aspiration to strengthen its prerogatives was also the struggle to introduce the general election to this body. In the final part of the article the author tries to analyze the current position of the European Parliament in the institutional structure of the European Union.