Roslyn Fuller – In Defence of Democracy

The basic meaning of democracy for Roslyn Fuller is not theoretical. She has a visceral attachment to its value and importance which she feels is embedded within the Western cultural tradition. Its meaning is therefore both evident and apparent. Yet she is not a conservative. She senses deep issues within the current framework of democratic…

Francis Fukuyama – Our Posthuman Future

Francis Fukuyama’s fourth book seems out of place. It does not neatly fit into the canon of political science. Fukuyama admits as much. His preface reads like something between an apology and an explanation. His first words read, “Writing a book on biotechnology might seem to be quite a leap for someone who in recent…

Cas Mudde – The Far Right Today

It took me just three days to read Cas Mudde’s Far Right Today. It is a short book which numbers just 180 pages before the notes begin. Yet it feels longer but not in a bad way. It feels as though Mudde has offered an extended seminar on far right politics. He breaks down the…

Larry Diamond – The Spirit of Democracy

Larry Diamond is the intellectual conscience of democracy scholarship. Perhaps this assessment is unfair. He is among the great intellectual minds among scholars of democracy living today. Yet his legacy is not necessarily theoretical but rather moral. He has challenged leaders around the world to live up to the standards of liberal democracy. Writing in…

Francis Fukuyama – Political Order and Political Decay

Francis Fukuyama established his reputation with the publication The End of History and the Last Man, but it is his two-volume work on political order which is his masterpiece. It is this work which realizes ambitions which were implied but never attempted in his earlier writings. And both its achievements and flaws originate from his…

Robert Dahl – On Political Equality

Dahl’s majoritarianism has never made sense to me. I get the feeling Dahl has different ideas he believes relate to democracy. But he never completely ties them together. There are so many loose ends which he dances around. It’s a beautiful chaos because he is a genius who is completely honest with his intellectual curiosity…

Arend Lijphart – Patterns of Democracy

The traditional definition of democracy emphasizes the principle of majority rule and the institution of elections. This is where the genesis of the “tyranny of the majority” claim emerges. Typically, political theorists have required the marriage of liberalism and democracy to establish limitations on majority rule. This approach assumes there is a conflict between traditional…

What is Democracy?

My search for meaning behind the political notion known as democracy began with the election of Donald Trump. Like many I did not believe his election was possible. It seemed inconceivable the democratic process would elevate a candidate who threatened its very existence. Republicans may feel I exaggerate, but I was appalled when he was…

Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Huq – How to Save a Constitutional Democracy

It is common to qualify democratic governance as not simply democracy but liberal democracy. This is natural because freedom has been associated with democracy dating back to the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. It is difficult to imagine an illiberal democracy which retained the foundations of democratic governance within an authoritarian or even totalitarian context.…