Public Affairs Quarterly 17 (4):291-318 (2003)

Ashwani Kumar Peetush
Wilfrid Laurier University
In this paper, I argue that Will Kymlicka’s theory of multicultural justice, in effect, serves to *unwittingly* perpetuate a neo-colonial agenda. Indigenous claims for recognition and sovereignty are accommodated to the degree and extent to which such communities may “liberalize” and promote distinctly Euro-Western self-understandings and conceptions of individual autonomy (tied to, e.g., substantive notions of self, private property, secularism). Individual autonomy -- defined and understood in a specific manner -- is supposedly the foundational value and the defining feature of liberalism. In fact, Kymlicka attacks Rawls’ theory of political liberalism, whose tolerance-based conception would provide, I argue, a far more open theoretical normative architecture within which to dialogue with non-Western nations -- where views of self, autonomy, property, land, non-human animals, and secularism may differ radically from those of liberal Western nations. Indeed, the very reason that most Indigenous peoples seek recognition from the liberal state is so that they can live according to their traditional and spiritual self-understandings of self and land, and non-secular forms of governance, grounded in shared substantive notions of a common good. I do not see reasons to lament this. Perhaps it is Western liberal nations that should be required to “Aboriginalize”. The intrinsic value of land on most such views may have saved us from the environmental crisis in which we find ourselves -- in which land is simply a fungible commodity -- of instrumental value, its worth measured in terms of its benefit for rational self-interested agents.
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References found in this work BETA

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Liberalism, Community, and Culture.Will Kymlicka - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval.C. B. Macpherson - 1973 - Philosophical Review 84 (2):304-306.

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Citations of this work BETA

Aspects of the Coloniality of Knowledge.Sarah Lucia Hoagland - 2020 - Critical Philosophy of Race 8 (1-2):48-60.

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