Arendt and Political Moralism

Richard Beardsworth

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2 Citations (SciVal)


This article considers Patricia Owens' Between War and Politics in the light of its important critique of political moralism. For Owens, following Arendt, the instrumental use of violence in the political domain is dangerous if it serves abstract ends. The moral ’wars’ of neo-conservatism and humanitarian interventionism embody this danger. I argue that this conflation of neo-conservative foreign policy and progressive liberalism is misguided, it underestimates the latter's increasing mediations between norm, legality and power. A critique of present moralization of politics should emphasize codification of rights to delimit the procedural framework within which international intervention can be made legitimate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-513
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • political moralism
  • rights regime
  • violence
  • example


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