Analyzing Fleming’s Placelessness of Political Theory
In the article “City of Rhetoric”, the author David Fleming has political theory argument it states that each citizen should be treated equally regardless of the worldly status, also it explains how a balance between each individual’s right and the politics authority is very important for a respectable political party. In his theory Fleming explains that an individual isn’t defined by its race, class, religion and gender. There is no better way of saying this, “We are all situated human beings with specific attributes; and bracketing may not be good for any of us. We all have bodies, we all grow up speaking certain languages, living in certain places, and occupying certain positions in the world. We are all from somewhere and affiliate with some groups more than others. Our political philosophies should not deny these “irrational” attachments; they are constitutive of who we are, of our very human being” (Fleming 22). Fleming explains two dominant traditions of modern political though: Republicanism and Liberalism.
Republicans believe in a self-governance of their own communities and that politics is essential for our everyday. Fleming mentions John Pocock’s way of understanding republicanism, “the development of the individual towards self-fulfillment is possible only when the individual acts as a citizen, that is, as a conscious and autonomous participant in an autonomous decision-taking political community, the polis or republic” (Fleming 25). The problem with the republican tradition demands too much because it’s a conservative trend. Some republican can be classified as radical are against David Fleming’s political theory. In other hand, Liberalism, focuses on everyone’s own well-being. This tradition believes in equality of all human beings. The belief of the Liberalist is that everyone should be treated the same and that each individual’s happiness, freedom and life style has significance. Fleming compared republican and liberal traditions when he stated: “To facilitate that project, the group needs not so much constant participation by all in public life, or even common assent to particular beliefs and values, as it does laws, procedures, and institutions that guarantee fairness and dictate as little as possible in the way of substance. Liberals therefore show less interest in qualities of character among citizens than republicans do; in fact, they sometimes seem to want to “citizen-proof” the state so that it does not depend on the virtues of particular individuals” (Fleming 26). Basically he stated that republicans concentrate excessively in politics and politicians, not in individual rights, whereas liberals concentrate in public ordinary life and not in the politics or politicians. We can see how republicans and liberal fail in their opposite strength. It’s important to acknowledge that even though the traditions aren’t alike in some aspects, the trends part with the democratic political view, “Despite these differences, however, both ideologies claim to be democratic and to support self-governing communities constituted by their members’ freedom and equality; both place a premium on debate as the mechanism of that self-government; and both recognize the role of a healthy public —a “coming together of equals”—in countering tyranny” (Fleming 26).
When facing both ideologies democracy is a big problem, we can see limitations around a group of people that are equal to one another but in some aspect superior to outcasts. These types of communities need to understand that as Martin Luther King Jr. said “Civic identity is a matter of heart and mind rather than body or status; and citizens know one another by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.” (Fleming 20). The community needs to be involved in the government for them to get what they want and to protect their individual rights. Restating what I said in the begging; a balance between each individual’s right and the politics authority is very important for a respectable political party.
Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. SUNY P, 2008.