The Sources of a Modern Idea of United Europe

    • Nice November 2018
    • Presentation speakers
      • Vytautas Sinica, Vilnius University, Lithuania

    Abstract:

    S. Pufendorf and G. Leibniz played a crucial role in the genesis of the modern idea of construction (not restoration) of a unified Europe in place of a long lost Western Christendom. S. Pufendorf provides a completely new conception of man, from which new fundamentals of the natural equality of men are derived, in turn becoming the foundation for the prospect of the new unity. The unity of men, which up until the 17th century was predicated on the man‘s creation in the image of God, in Pufendorf‘s political theory is based solely on physical essentials – the principal ability of every man to murder another, and the mutual existential threat (as well as respect) that is derived from it. Differences between people arise only because of the social condition, in which the state establishes various statuses that create inequality. Proposed alongside is the idea of „natural religion“, which is completely foreign to and incompatible with the Christian conception of a man and the political order that is based on it. The idea of rationalism, which Leibniz developed, means homogenization of the entire political reality, and is a premise for a vision of a uniform world. Rationalism in the political theory of Leibniz manifest itself primarily in that everything is applied to an abstract political reality, and humanity‘s diversity is treated merely as a superficial phenomenon. Until rationalism it was thought that humanity‘s diversity (its cultures and ways of life) – determine the differences in political organization of the communities. For Leibniz, all that diversity can be abolished. Herein lays the basic premise of the idea of an everlasting peace: the differences are the cause of conflicts. Because of this, the modern project of Europe is a project of humanity‘s unification. The projects of everlasting peace, proposed in 18th century and approved by Leibniz, were also a means of abolishing the natural diversity of peoples and nations that was characteristic to Western Christendom.