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The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties

Athenians regarded the man who took no part in public affairs not as one who minded his own business but as a man good for nothing. In the age of the nation-state, the individual citizen’s participation in managing public affairs has become severely limited. In the typical representative democracy, this is often confined to voting in competitive elections and the occasional plebiscite. The difficulty of understanding the complexities of public affairs has also increased. Even the increased availability of political information in the media may simply strain citizens’ capacities to keep up with the intricacies of electoral politics. As centrist democrats, we recognise the imperative need of democratic countries to improve citizens’ capacities to engage intelligently in the nation’s political life. Most everywhere in the Third World, the raging popular struggle is the struggle for justice and human rights. It is not poverty or deprivation as such that compels ordinary people to rebel, but deprivation and a sense of injustice. Hence, government must be seen to deliver justice in its most elementary sense to local peoples, to local communities and, particularly, to women, children and other vulnerable groups in the national community. The spiritual and the secular in human life Most people accept that the secular state is appropriate for our time, because of its respect for human rights, its ability to tolerate dissent and the freedom of expression it allows. But they also recognise that the secular state has not entirely lived up to its own promises of political freedom, economic prosperity and social justice. In post-modern society, the triumph of secularism has also resulted in the deconsecration of human life. In the richest nations, society has largely cut itself off from its moral foundations. The pursuit of economic wealth has degenerated into the worship of worldly things—into what Pope

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European View

John Paul II called an “idolatry of the market”. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend George Carey, has deplored the “tacit atheism” of modern society. And we all know how empty public life can be without a moral purpose, and how rootless society can be without some transcendent foundation. We recognise that ordinary people need a ‘sacred canopy’ in order to make sense of the world, because meaninglessness is a threat to our need for an orderly universe. The world’s need for interfaith dialogue As the forces of globalisation compel peoples who once lived apart to interact, conflicts between them are liable to intensify unless we are able to inculcate new rules of civic behaviour respectful of foreign cultures and religions. We urgently need a dialogue between religions and cultures, a dialogue of civilisations, to restore the social order shattered by the terrorist attacks, and to achieve the multi-cultural understanding which is the only basis for the long-term security of the global community. These dialogues are best institutionalised through an Interfaith Council in the United Nations system. The dialogue must start from the premise that, in the campaign against terrorism, force by itself is not enough. The campaign against terrorism must also be a war of ideas. We must not merely aim to defeat terrorism; we must win people’s allegiance by the power of our values and our ideals. We must not only isolate radicals and extremists. We must help poor countries to prosper; and we must aim to create a world order that offers full participation to all the world’s peoples. For we can have peace only when Christian and Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu, Catholic and Jew can dwell safely side by side: “every man under his vine and under his fig tree” (1 Kings 4:25). Creating space for alternative faiths The former American president, Bill Clinton,

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

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