After Rawls, many scholars argue against the idea to consider democracy as a human right. Characterized by widespread suffrage and a conception of persons as free and equal, democracy is considered as an essential part of the liberal conception of justice but insufficiently embedded in the public cultures of non-liberal peoples to qualify as a human right. No matter how diversely motivated, consensus on some form of weakened universalism has recently extended far beyond the circle of Rawlsians and skepticism about the universal validity of the principle of equality seems to be the most fashionable position among global ethicists. This paper argues against this tendency. It sees it as resting on a controversial extension of the Rawlsian methodology of public reason and overlapping consensus in matters of global ethics, as well as on a false assumption that links human rights violations and limits of national sovereignty without a sufficient degree of flexibility.
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