Marc Plattner Has Quite a Bit to Say About Democracy

Marc Plattner is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and the founding codirector of the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies. Until 2016, he also served as NED’s vice president for research and studies, and from 1984 to 1989 he was NED’s director of program.  He is the author of Democracy Without Borders?... Continue Reading →

Olivier Zunz on Alexis de Tocqueville

Olivier Zunz is the James Madison Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Virginia. He is among the foremost scholars of Alexis de Tocqueville and the author of The Man who Knew Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville.   Become a Patron! Make a one-time Donation to Democracy Paradox. Tocqueville’s Democracy in America... Continue Reading →

Democracy, Liberalism, and their Opposites

By Takis S. Pappas Describing Political Systems Say you want to construct an all-encompassing typology of political systems in the world. Now, since most knowledge is mediated by words, you had better start with establishing a clear vocabulary. Fine, but you are already stumbling upon the unclear and confusing terms used by such well-respected sources... Continue Reading →

The Politics of Ambiguity

By Justin Kempf Autocratic Ambiguity The precise line between democracy and autocracy was never entirely clear. Part of the problem was the inability of autocratic government to govern autocratically. Even the most capable autocrats rely on advisors and civil servants to carry out their wills. Moreover, they find it necessary to delegate significant authority to... Continue Reading →

Democracy Made in China

By María Isabel Puerta Riera Originally published in Spanish by Diálogo Político on 05/10/2022 Democracy with Chinese Characteristics? Some question the notion of a 'crisis of democracy' in large part over debates about the threshold used to characterize democracy. Nonetheless, most of us can agree on some minimum baseline that includes the election of representatives combined with... Continue Reading →

Can We Define Democracy?

By Justin Kempf How Should We Define Democracy? Democracy is an elusive idea. It means many different things for many different people. The blog and the podcast often exploit the various interpretations of democracy to showcase ideas or even make arguments that might leave some readers or listeners unclear about the precise meaning of democracy... Continue Reading →

Our Crisis of Democracy

Become a Patron! Make a one-time Donation to Democracy Paradox. Our Crisis of Democracy When I went to school, I believed America was more or less always a democracy. The constitution guaranteed a representative form of government and guaranteed many civil liberties long before other nations. Along the way, the United States became an even... Continue Reading →

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