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Boxing PandoraRethinking Borders, States, and Secession in a Democratic World$
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Timothy William Waters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300235890

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300235890.001.0001

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The Value of Asking

The Value of Asking

(p.242) Conclusion: The Value of Asking
Boxing Pandora

Timothy William Waters

Yale University Press

This concluding chapter studies the value of critically assessing the basic rules people live under: Persistent violence and instability suggest there must be a better rule, and it is only by challenging the current order's hidden assumptions that people will find it. The new rule is a global rule, like the existing one. Each, in its way, offers a global approach that inevitably encourages a single type of solution. This “totalism” can be dangerous. It is possible the new rule would make things worse: destabilizing more societies than it would help; making it harder for groups to get along; producing more illiberal societies and violence. But these are empirical questions: They may or may not be true. Thus, questioning people's commitments is useful. The fixity of people's commitment to rigid borders is not matched with outcomes people ought to find acceptable, whether measured in morality, lives lost, prosperity, or human happiness. It is only because of the impossibility of knowing what a different world might look like that people can retain their unshakable confidence in the current rule.

Keywords:   violence, instability, global rule, borders, morality, basic rules, societies

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