23rd Karlsruhe Dialogues - Speakers
The City: Home of Minorities
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kaschuba
Foto: Mathias Heyde
1. In your opinion, what aspects of collective life (economy, politics, society) are affected the most by a lack of taking on responsibility?
I wouldn’t omit any of the three areas of irresponsibility. The political sector refuses to engage in any visionary debate on the future of society, despite and also because of the fears about globalisation. The business sector systematically avoids issues of social distribution and justice such as the debate on ecological sustainability. And society itself is ambivalent at the least: on the one hand trapped in populist fragmentation and differences, on the other hand on the positive path to a civil society.
2. Do you see a continuing trend that democratic majorities increasingly often vote against our values of a tolerant society? If so, how does one respond to it?
We lack an intensive debate about the relationship between individual freedom and joint responsibility in politics and the media. Moreover, this in a society which is tending ever more to a society of ‘lifestyles’ in which political overlaps and cultural commonalities can no longer be assumed. Here, politics is failing both as a navigator and as a mediator in almost every respect. And the self-proclaimed social elites are disgracing themselves here as well.
3. In your view, what circumstances preclude the assumption of responsibility? Is the main reason to be found in a loss of seemingly secure values, norms and regulations?
The current fragmentation and division of society is certainly also a result of uncertainty. However, this seems to be less a result of concrete and shared experience and more a result of the targeted debates and campaigns in our ‘hysterical times’. It is not only the Gaulands and Trumps who contribute to this, but also German Ministers of the Interior when, for instance, they threateningly describe migration as the ‘mother of all our problems’ instead of recognising it, with reference to the history of civilisation, as the ‘mother of society’.
4. Where does the responsibility of science with regard to the impacts of its research start and where does it end (e.g. ‘gene manipulation of embryos in China or ‘research in artificial intelligence’)?
The scientific community must generally extend itself much further into societal areas in order to supervise and guide the way that people react to its research questions and research results – such as application in business, in the medical sphere and in society as a whole. Only in this way can freedom of science and of research be properly defended. In this respect the times of the academic ivory tower are over once and for all. This is something, however, that many colleagues have still failed to recognise.