Do Confucianism and the concept of a ‘horizontal hierarchy’ offer elements to repair possible flaws of Liberal Constitutional Democracy?
This article addresses ‘difference blindness’ in Western liberal constitutional democracies and examines how Confucianism recognises difference in a ‘horizontal hierarchy’ and how Eastern cultures in this tradition seek an accommodation between Confucianism and incoming liberal ideas. I examine how these Confucian concepts, if introduced into liberal democracies, might repair certain flaws, and propose that liberalism could benefit from such innovative moderation of some of its traditional commitments to ‘difference blindness’ in representation, equality and rights. This novel transformation, adopting elements of a Confucian ‘horizontal hierarchy’ and associated ethical approaches, would aid the liberal West to meet its evolving circumstances, in a globalized, interconnected world of increasing ‘multiculturality’, where difference must be recognized to deliver dignity, respect and recognition.
Faculteit der Filosofie, Theologie en Religiewetenschappen