In this weekend's Radio Derb and the article distilled from it I quoted sociologist Ruud Koopmans and political scientist Michael Zürn writing, in the introduction to their recent book The Struggle Over Borders, that:
In this book, we label those who advocate open borders, universal norms and supranational authority as "cosmopolitans"; and those who defend border closure, cultural particularism and national sovereignty as "communitarians."
A Radio Derb listener points out a thing I had forgotten: The word "communitarian" had a previous life, late in the last century, tagging a slightly refurbished variety of good old anti-capitalist leftism.
To my annoyance, I once knew this, but had forgotten it. Not only did I know it, twenty years ago I read a book about it. And not only did I read the book, I published a review of it, with maximum ill-will.
Amitai Etzioni is a Professor of Law and writes like one, calling his method a "methodology." He is also a leading voice of the self-styled "communitarian" movement which believes we have been passing through a regrettable period of extreme individualism—egged on by the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (do you need to be told that communitarians are lefties?)—in which the very concept of "the common good" has almost been lost. What can be done? We "need to lean on [Big Brother] to protect privacy better from Big Buck." It is all the fault of wicked capitalists, you see, and the solution is—guess what?—more government. You did know that we are under-governed, didn't you? [Private Obsessions; National Review, May 31st 1999]