78 In the first example, Wellman uses the terms interchangeably, as if there is no difference between the two. In the second, it is plain that the freedom of association is constitutive of the right to self-determination, a position to which Wellman commits. 79 It seems reasonable in the context to assume that Wellman intends the constitutive understanding 77 Ibid., 111. 78 Ibid., 112. 79 Ibid., 113, n. 5.
126 to the first passage as well. There is some number of rights, of which one is the freedom of association, that constitute the right of self-determination. But if this is the case, the first passage is problematic because if there are moral differences between individuals and groups then it is entirely possible that one and not the other possesses the right to self-determination. It is also possible that one has a right to self-determination or freedom to associate that is bounded. Finally, it might be that self-determination is constituted differently for individuals and groups. Wellman r eadily acknowledges that a group’s ability to determine its members is generally not questioned, although the manner in which it determines membership is often constrained by larger social purposes. If this is legitimate, and Wellman appears to believe it is, then one cannot simply assume that an individual’s freedom of association transfers, mutatis mutandis , to the state. An argument needs to be provided for that claim. The argument Wellman presents is based upon the role of association in self- determination, but it is easy to conceive of arguments against the claim that the rights constitutive of self-determination are the same for both individuals and states. One such argument might claim that individuals are natural whereas states are constructed. One might argue that this difference is irrelevant but one might argue that this difference makes all the difference. If states are constructed, then they have only the rights required for fulfilling the purposes for which they are created. Even if it is granted that both groups are entitled to self-determination, it may be the case that what constitutes self- determination for each is different from how it is constituted for the other. It is this latter problem that leads to my second and more substantive objection.
127 States and individuals are substantially different, particularly in their ability to affect the lives of others. An individual decision to associate or not, in most cases, has a limited affect upon a person’s life. 80 For most people there are adequate opportunities elsewhere to pursue or other people with whom to associate. When an individual, or a group, chooses not to associate the effects are limited. When the state makes these kinds of decisions regarding an individual, it has significantly profound and long-lasting effects. If the decision of the state is to disassociate with one of its citizens (by revoking citizenship) then the problems for that individual, in a world of states, might be insurmountable. Walzer, in his account of membership, highlights this problem: Men and women without membership anywhere are stateless persons.
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