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Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus: An Answer to Robert Kagan

Učník, L. (2003) Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus: An Answer to Robert Kagan. Arena Journal & Magazine, 21 . pp. 127-150.


In this article I revisit some of the arguments from the beginnings of modern political theory in order to examine Robert Kagan's claim that 'today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus'. (3) Kagan's argument about the difference between Anglo-Saxon and Continental political attitudes is close to the mark, but not, as he would have it, because of the respective psychological dispositions of Americans and Europeans, whose differences in the possession of power are supposedly at the root of their comportment towards, for example, the war in Iraq. I will show how these differences can be traced to modern political philosophies. (4) However, it is not the purpose of this paper to offer another explanation as rigid as Kagan's. Instead, I point towards the different models of society which underpin the origins of modern political philosophy and show how in Kagan's work the language of power overrides the language of rights. I suggest that Kagan's view is seriously misguided. The language of rights must govern the use of power.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: Arena Magazine
Copyright: The Authors
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