“All for One and One for All” is an essay written in 2010 by a Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor. In his essay, the author narrates about solidarity as one of the most significant elements of democratic societies. The strength of the essay is Taylor’s argument that points out that the level of solidarity depends on the sense of common identity in society. The philosopher builds his narration in a logical and cohesive manner and highlights the main challenges and tasks that some countries have to deal with in order to build solidarity. The main weakness of his essay, however, is that the ways of how to deal with the mentioned issues and tasks suggested by Taylor are not effective. Even though the author admits that, he does not develop further ideas of how to work on these challenges to strengthen solidarity in democratic societies. Moreover, talking about building solidarity among the diversifying population, the philosopher looked at the situation from the perspectives of residents, ignoring possible opinions of immigrants.
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The essay “All for One and One for All” discusses the importance of solidarity and sense of common identity, as well as the terms of their sustainability in democratic societies. The author asserts that it is complicated to maintain solidarity and a sense of identity in society because of people’s constant migration due to the current political situation in the world. He discusses two possible ways of how to achieve a certain level of solidarity in society, namely return to older modes of solidarity and redefining identity (Taylor par. 4). Taylor explains how it can work, giving examples based on the situation in France and feminist movements in the West. Another idea on how to overcome challenges during the process of strengthening identity among populations is through the creation people’s sense of dedication to religious groups. The narrative develops with the thoughts of the author about the role of religion in the formation of the people’s sense of identity. At the end of the essay, Taylor highlights the idea of openness and sincerity among people that are necessary for building solidarity. Therefore, the main argument of the article is that solidarity is crucial for a democratic society, which is possible to maintain through strengthening the sense of identity among people.
The argument of the author is clear and convincing because Taylor explains his point of view and gives examples that support his ideas. It is also worth to mention that nowadays, in the conditions of military conflicts, especially in the Middle East region, the questions that are raised in the article are very topical. There are a large number of people who have to leave their homes and move to another country to live in safety. While humanitarian organizations provide basic needs for displaced people, such as food, shelter, medication, and clothes, very often, it is forgotten that migrants have other needs that should be met. Thus, Taylor alerts the international community that immigrants need to have a sense of belonging to the nation in order to feel safe and emotionally comfortable. To achieve these goals, host countries need to create a certain level of solidarity in society. Therefore, in this context, the essay is very useful and applicable to the problems of the 21st century.
In general, my evaluation of this essay is quite positive, as it has a number of strengths. First of all, as it was mentioned above, the work raises global awareness of social problems in democratic states. Secondly, the structure of the essay is cohesive and logical. The author skillfully explains his argument, showing his deep knowledge about the state structure of France that prevailed in the past. In addition, Taylor managed to reveal the main challenges that occur on the way to preserve solidarity.
One of the sharpest points of the essay is the author’s discussion about the role of religious groups in maintaining people’s sense of identity and solidarity. Taylor highlights the idea that religious groups are very powerful in terms of creating solidarity. I would also add that it is ensured by the generic religious laws that teach members of spiritual groups to be helpful, patient, and loyal to others.
It is also worth to mention that the philosopher tried to encompass all possible difficulties related to building solidarity among people. For example, he writes about people’s fears of losing their traditions in case of building identity and solidarity with those who moved to their country from other states. Indeed, even though building solidarity with immigrants does not necessarily lead to losing traditions of local inhabitants, people still tend to express this concern.
However, the author did not mention that sometimes, the lack of solidarity among newcomers and local residents may have different reasons. For example, it may be caused not by the unwillingness of locals to accept immigrants but by the reluctance of immigrants to follow the traditions and lifestyles of the host country’s residents. For instance, the author mentions that building a barrier against Muslim immigrants by French is ineffective. Nevertheless, the problem might be caused by immigrants themselves, as sometimes they may refuse to follow certain rules of the country. It might happen due to religious reasons when immigrants do not agree to work on certain days when they have Muslim holidays. Moreover, sometimes, immigrants have fears that their children, who attend non-religious schools and have friends of other religions, may forget their traditions and become less spiritual. As a result, parents tend to restrict communication of their kids with representatives of other religious groups, which does not help in building identity and solidarity among people.
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Another weakness of the essay is the absence of data on how people should build solidarity among diversifying populations. Of course, Taylor asserts that there are two ways to do that. However, all further information proves that these ways are ineffective. For example, the author points out that for France, it is possible to build solidarity through returning to the old mode of solidarity. However, the author continues that it is inefficient as it does not help immigrants to obtain a sense of identity in their country. In terms of redefining identity, which is described as the second tool for building solidarity, it also has some ambiguity. According to the author, redefining identity is performed by people, which means that it cannot be regulated by the government and, therefore, is difficult to predict.
In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that, in general, the essay has numerous strengths, as it raises the awareness of people of the challenges in democratic societies. In addition, it suggests some possible ways of how to deal with them. However, it also has some weaknesses as the author did not provide more information about how to overcome difficulties in order to build solidarity in an effective way. Moreover, in terms of building solidarity with the diversifying populations, the author looks at the situation only from one side, namely from the point of view of local inhabitants. However, in this case, it is necessary to look at the situation from different angles, including the position of both local residents and immigrants.
Taylor, Charles. “All for One, and One for All.” The Globe and Mail, 2010, Web.