In this paper, the authors argue here that human rights are as much the problem as they are the solution to the contemporary challenge of constructing civil society, observing that the seemingly inherent long-term social and political consequences of close to half a century of advocating human rights to the exclusion of other components of human good and fulfillment have been at the expense of any sense of shared belonging. Delineating between rights and belonging, they show how the extreme right has latched on to a tangible argument for belonging while the left has responded by continuing to advocate for abstract, universal, and unencumbered human rights to the detriment of its efforts to build civil society.
- Resentment is not so much based upon the diversity of cultural and other identities but often rooted in grievances, complaints, and memories of historical conflicts that groups hold against other groups. Using examples from Central and Eastern Europe, the paper argues that the viability of liberal democratic welfare states in Europe depends upon a minimum of toleration, trust, and solidarity among citizens. It is these cultural underpinnings of democracy which are threatened by historically rooted and (often strategically activated) feelings of resentment.