Still a Community of Values?: Historical Reflection on the Normative Cohesion of the West

September 26, 2007

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Heinrich August Winkler

The European Union is often referred to as a community of values. But, in the geographical sense, Europe never established a community of values. The values referred to by the European Union are the values that Western Europe has in common with the great democracies of the Western world. This lecture with Professor Heinrich August Winkler, a prominent historian from Berlin's Humboldt University and author of the recent book Germany: The Long Road West, follows the West's long path to the division of power, the inalienable rights of humankind, and pluralistic democracy. At the end is a plea to the listener to understand the political culture of the West as "Streitkultur," as a culture of conflict. Transatlantic controversies about political conclusions, as a result of western values, are necessary again and again. But, it is really a matter of the interpretation of values that both sides understand as obligatory.

 

Recorded Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at Goethe-Institut Chicago.