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Title: An Examination of the Feasibility of Cultural Nationalism as Ideal Theory
Author(s): LEE, Hsin-wen
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 21    Issue: 2   Date: 2014   
Pages: 199-224
DOI: 10.2143/EP.21.2.3030697

Abstract :
The principle of national self-determination holds that a national community, simply by virtue of being a national community, has a prima facie right to create its own sovereign state. While many support this principle, fewer agree that it should be formally recognized by political institutions. One of the main concerns is that implementing this principle may lead to certain types of inequalities – between nations with and without their own states, members inside and outside the border, and members and non-members inside the same nation state. While these inequalities may arise, I shall argue that they are not unjust. These concerns are partly the result of confusing two types of interests that a national group may have – in cultural affairs and in political affairs. While a national community should enjoy rights over their cultural affairs, this does not grant them authority over other non-cultural, political affairs. Once the distinction is drawn, we can see that there are constraints on the implementation of this principle. Consequently, these inequalities justify setting limits to a group’s right to self-government, although they do not conclusively refute the right itself.

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