I will assume that respondents have read the article, but I can give a quick overview. After making use of Hegel's distinction between the ethical and the moral, Stawrowski's argument takes on a semi-historical form as he considers the axiological foundations of the basic models that states can take. He first considers an ethically homogenous state, such as existed in the ancient world, in which "the political and ethical-religious order constitute one inseparable whole." The second model arose in the time of the Reformation. On this model states must limit themselves to imposing an ethical minimum on account of the ethical diversity in the population. We are told that respect for religious freedom is the foremost principle in such a state. This is the state of classical liberalism, of Locke and Mill.
Using Locke's refusal to tolerate atheists as a point of departure, Stawrowski describes two different conceptions of the "ethically minimum":
Stawrowski tells us that the modern state tends towards the latter conception of an ethical minimum, and that this conception necessitates a democratic state of law (while the former conception is compatible with a democratic state of law, but does not necessitate it). The third model is of course the Hobbesian state which is premised on the latter conception of an ethical minimum. The article closes:Stawrowski wrote:The problem of a state of ethical minimum, therefore, is in the fact that its sense may be understood in two ways, in other words, that it may be penetrated by a dual spirit. Naturally, the main aim of such a state is to guarantee conditions in which people may live in security and peace, in accordance with their conscience, realizing their own idea of a good life. There is, however, a fundamental difference between whether the guaranteed freedom of conscience serves the realization of one or another vision of the common good (which is implicitly contained in the concept of religious freedom), or, whether it supports the emancipation from all ethical obligations. In the case of the latter, the principle of freedom, which lies at the foundations of such a state, is no longer a principle of freedom of conscience—we are dealing rather with the principle of freedom of an outlook on life, which treats as equal diverse ethical outlooks and attitudes (or rather one attitude, which takes on many shapes), radically cutting off interpersonal relations. It is not necessary to add that this last interpretation remains in striking contradiction with the intentions of the above-quoted “founding fathers” of the modern state.
Within the framework of this same state of ethical minimum there can, therefore, exist and co-exist two completely separate societies: the first one, consisting of diverse ethical communities and embracing both religious people of various beliefs as well as irreligious people who are sensitive to the common good; and the second, a society of extreme individualists and egocentrics.
----------Stawrowski wrote:When in 1989, Francis Fukuyama wrote: “The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism,” he did not notice that the real “clash of civilizations,” a truly significant conflict of ideas, goes on within the framework of this same Western civilization. This struggle is about the sense and aim of the liberal democratic state of law, about whether its liberal character should be expressed in the promotion of freedom responsible for the community, or in support for the idea of autonomy understood as liberation from all external (including ethical) limitations; or whether it should be a state of ethical minimum, or of maximum possible freedom; or finally, whether it should be a state of law with a solid framework, in which the appropriate institutions of a democratic political system function and are subordinated, or whether it is to turn into a democracy for which the principles of the state of law will sooner or later appear to be a superfluous limitation.
From this article I infer that Stawrowski favors the classical liberalism of Locke or Mill while rejecting Hobbes. He favors the former conception of an ethical minimum while rejecting the latter. He would prefer a state which sees the human being as a moral and ethical agent, a state which does not deny the ethical nature of man.
In these things I agree with him, and the weaknesses of the Hobbesian state that Stawrowski points to seem to be some of the same basic weaknesses of libertarianism.
Now, it may be obvious that on this website libertarianism is closely associated with @GE Morton. I have seen many critiques of Morton's political philosophy, but few of them stand up under scrutiny. I think that libertarianism is, prima facie, a reasonable attempt at political philosophy. When subjected to scrutiny, however, I believe that it begins to fall apart. I think that the way it falls apart, along with the kernels of truth that can be found in the critiques of Morton's political philosophy, are easily observable in Stawrowski's article.