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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 41, 1998

Political Philosophy

Vjekoslav Butigan
Pages 32-36

The Political Ethos of the Civil Society

Totalitarian political systems in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe destroyed and repressed the civil society that used to exist in them. The authoritarian and totalitarian ethos was formed under a powerful influence of ideologies of the communist parties and politocracy in these countries so that the political ethos of politicians dominated the political ethos of the citizen. The breakdown of the real socialism and its unsuccessful attempts to complete accelerated liberal modernization of these societies caused turbulence of social values in addition to the general moral chaos. The moral crisis has deepened; anomie increased as well as the society’s inclination to commit crime. This makes difficult the creation of the cultural matrix of the civil society and its moral values. The liberation and development of the political ethos of the civil society as an element of the democratic political culture require structural and mental changes in these societies. They imply abandoning the value matrices of the traditional and political societies based upon collectivism, tribalism, authoritarianism, egalitarianism, ethnocentrism, etatisme and mythologization of the past. They require the use of the citizens’ active potential as well as that of their associations, their readiness for political commitment, self-initiative, respect of the general interest and a courageous defense of freedom and social justice.

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