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Emblems of Pluralism

Emblems of Pluralism: Cultural Differences and the State

Carol Weisbrod
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Emblems of Pluralism
    Book Description:

    From outlawing polygamy and mandating public education to protecting the rights of minorities, the framing of group life by the state has been a subject of considerable interest and controversy throughout the history of the United States. The subject continues to be important in many countries. This book deals with state responses to cultural difference through the examination of a number of encounters between individuals, groups, and the state, in the United States and elsewhere. The book opens the concepts of groups and the state, arguing for the complexity of their relations and interpenetrations.

    Carol Weisbrod draws on richly diverse historical and cultural material to explore various structures that have been seen as appropriate for adjusting relations between states and internal groups. She considers the experience of the Mormons, the Amish, and Native Americans in the United States, the Mennonites in Germany, and the Jews in Russia to illustrate arrangements and accommodations in different times and places. The Minorities Treaties of the League of Nations, political federalism, religious exemptions, nonstate schools, and rules about adoption are among the mechanisms discussed that sustain cultural difference and create frameworks for group life, and, finally, individual life. At bottom,Emblems of Pluralismconcerns not only relations between the state and groups, public and private, but also issues of identity and relations between the self and others.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2543-1
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    “Today we take the state for granted,” writes Joseph Strayer. “We grumble about its demands; we complain that it is encroaching more and more on what used to be our private concerns.”¹ At the same time, he says, we can hardly conceive of life without the state. “The old forms of social identification are no longer absolutely necessary. A man can lead a reasonably full life without a family, a fixed local residence, or a religious affiliation, but if he is stateless he is nothing.” Such a person has “no rights, no security, and little opportunity for a useful career.”...

  5. PART ONE Monumental Federalism
    (pp. 13-16)

    Erastus Field’sHistorical Monument of the American Republicis a painting about history, not about theories of federalism, but to the extent that it invokes political (rather than social) history, it implies a hierarchical understanding of American federalism.¹ It is a representation of vertical relations between groups.

    The painting was begun in the 1860s, and Field finished most of the piece by 1867. In 1876, Field added the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition Hall to the top of what was called the Central Tower, and, in 1888, he added the two end towers.² Mary Black recorded that Field saw the painting as...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Owen in America: Ambiguities in the Concept of the Federal System
    (pp. 17-29)

    It is conventional in work on groups and associations in America to turn to early commentators on our institutions and, particularly, to the observations of Alexis de Tocqueville, whose reflections on the structure of American society went far beyond the description of governmental institutions. “Better use has been made of association and this powerful instrument of action has been applied to more varied aims in America than anywhere else in the world.”¹ Tocqueville’s observations on the importance of voluntary associations in the American political system are so substantial that, writing in 1970, Hannah Arendt could still refer to Tocqueville’s chapters...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Indians and Individualists: A Multiplicity of Sovereignties
    (pp. 30-45)

    Professor john burgess inPolitical Science and Constitutional Lawdefined sovereignty as the “original, absolute, unlimited universal power over the individual subject and over all associations of subjects.” This definition has been disputed in theory and is not altogether consistent with certain social facts.¹

    Conceptions of pluralism and federalism can take several forms. Some versions rely on the idea of sovereignty, noting that it can be located in groups other than the state. These versions fit well with the way we view Indian tribes, religious groups, and other organizations whose functioning can be seen in terms of nonstate but statelike...

  8. CHAPTER 3 An Imperium in Imperio: The Mormon Empire and Later Developments
    (pp. 46-64)

    Approaching the subject of religion and law from the point of view of Western liberal ideas of church and state, one sees two separate boxes. One is labeledsecular,linked to official law and the modern Western state. The other is calledreligious,associated with private groups within the state that may have their own norms and customs but are located primarily in the private consciences of individuals.

    It has been apparent to some of those who write about law and religion that these boxes are better conceived as interpenetrating units, whose areas of influence and ideologies reveal considerable overlap....

  9. CHAPTER 4 Another Yoder Case: The Separatist Community and the Dissenting Individual
    (pp. 65-79)

    The Amish Church, a separatist group historically rooted in the left wing of the Reformation, has survived in its traditional form only in the United States. In this country, it occupies a particular cultural space as a benign separatist community.¹ This is evidenced by (to take only two examples) the treatment of the group in the filmWitnessas well as the group’s appearance in the science fiction television seriesEarth: The Final Conflict

    In some of these appearances in the wider culture, the positive aspects of the Amish are balanced by an awareness of the group’s internal disciplinary mechanism,...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Melting Pots and Pariah Peoples
    (pp. 80-96)

    A photograph from 1947 credited to the Associated Press and published inTimemagazine shows Andrew Yoder in an Ohio courtroom.¹ Four of the defendant Amish men sit around a table in an identical posture, each resting his head on his hand, all looking at each other. In the background, a number of spectators talk to each other and watch the proceedings. A photograph of Yoder himself has been superimposed on the center bottom of the picture, placed by the photographer in such a way as to reinforce the alienation of the individual from the group. The caption reads, “Andrew...

  11. PART TWO The Peaceable Kingdom
    (pp. 97-100)

    Part 2 of this book examines another vision of federalism. It is horizontal, pluralist, and includes public and private groups in various relations to each other. We could speak of an “essential federalism” of America, Alexander Pekelis wrote, “and we would not, of course, have in mind just forty-eight or forty-nine American jurisdictions. We think of a wider and deeper network composed of a plurality of legal systems enjoying an extremely great amount of autonomy.”¹

    Essential federalism, while still drawing in the idea of the state, sees groups without reference to a public-private line. It also evokes autonomy in the...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Theoreticians: Questions Left Open
    (pp. 101-118)

    The discussions reviewed in this chapter, ordinarily called pluralist, address issues of sovereignty. Pluralist theories often reject one view of sovereignty and invoke another. Before examining pluralist theories themselves, it may be useful to set out as background some of the general theoretical material on sovereignty.

    In twentieth-century Germany, Carl Schmitt offered what has been called a modernized version of Hobbes and Bodin¹ that sees the sovereign as the source not of the rule but of the exception. It is a version of absolutism. This European sovereignty is visible in Foucault, who contrasts it with “new type of power.” This...

  13. CHAPTER 7 The Minority Treaties of the League of Nations
    (pp. 119-137)

    An experiment under the League of Nations was established under the treaties imposed on a number of nations after the First World War whose purpose, at least in part, was the protection of certain minorities, particularly ethnic, linguistic, and religious. These treaties were between governments, in the conventional sense.¹ They preserved the general structure of the nation-state while attempting to give rights to certain minorities. These treaties, broadly speaking, assured the rights of internal minorities in countries whose majority populations were understood to be different ethnically, nationally, or religiously. The treaties were signed between 1919 and 1920 by the Allies...

  14. CHAPTER 8 The Debate over Education: Truth, Peace, Citizenship
    (pp. 138-156)

    The discussion of the Amish and other religious groups up to now has raised a substantive point about toleration. Specifically, the problem is that religious liberty intrinsically includes liberty for highly specific ideas of excellence, worthiness, and sanctity. These ideas are in place even in the absence of consequent behavior. That is, if freedom to believe is absolute, these ideas, like all others, are absolutely beyond the reach of the government.

    Education, however, deals with ideas, and education is finally about the impact of new ideas on preexisting ideas. Children do not, in fact, come to school thinking nothing, believing...

  15. CHAPTER 9 Children and Groups: Problems in Fact and in Theory
    (pp. 157-177)

    “We are all born uncivilized,” James Robinson remarked in 1929, “and would remain so through life were we not immersed in civilization. There is a long time in which we may, according to the place where we are born, be moulded into a well authenticated Papuan, Chinaman, or Parisian. We cannot choose whether we shall find ourselves talking like a Hottentot, a Russian or a German. And we learn to do in all things as those do among whom we are brought up. We cannot but accept their respective customs, scruples, and ideas, for all these are imposed upon us...

  16. CHAPTER 10 Negotiating the Frameworks: The Problem of the Sensitive Citizen
    (pp. 178-202)

    The line fromThe Mikadois, of course, a joke. Ko-Ko is Lord High Executioner of Titipu. Pooh-Bah, to whom he speaks, is the Lord High Everything Else, including the chancellor. Pooh-bah, asked how much money Ko-Ko should spend on his wedding, responds serially in each of his roles. “[A]s First Lord of the Treasury, I could propose a special vote that would cover all expenses, if it were not that, as Leader of the Opposition, it would be my duty to resist it, tooth and nail. Or, as Paymaster General, I could so cook the accounts that, as Lord...

  17. Conclusion
    (pp. 203-210)

    An emblem book on pluralism might contain this description by Benjamin Rush of an eighteenth-century parade in Philadelphia. “In eighty-fourth place”—after the “gentlemen of the bar” but before “the college of physicians”—marched seventeen clergymen. They “formed a very agreeable part of the procession,” Rush notes. “Pains were taken to connect Ministers of the most dissimilar religious principles together, thereby to show the influence of a free government in promoting Christian charity. The Rabbi of the Jews, locked in the arms of two ministers of the gospel, was a most delightful sight. There could not have been a more...

  18. Index
    (pp. 211-222)