Thoughts on Robert Dahl’s Polyarchy

Robert Dahl developed the concept of polyarchy to describe democracy as a political regime type. But it also implies liberal democracy has room to become even more democratic. This is the ninth part of the Democracy Paradox, a comprehensive theory of democracy. The Significance of Robert Dahl Nobody has thought more about democracy than Robert... Continue Reading →

Does Liberalism Unfold Democracy or Constrain it?

Liberalism and Democracy have a long history. Most theorists now refer to liberal democracy as a more complete form of democracy, but the role of liberalism is rarely clarified. Is it a counterweight to democracy or its cornerstone? This is the eight part of the Democracy Paradox, a comprehensive theory of democracy. Liberalism and Democracy... Continue Reading →

Neither Majority Rule nor Minority Rule

Too many people confuse majority rule as a crude form of democracy. Others believe majorities must remain in check to preserve democracy. In reality democracy involves neither majority nor minority rule. This is the seventh part of the Democracy Paradox, a comprehensive work of political theory. Majority Rule in Democracy Democracy is neither majoritarian nor... Continue Reading →

How Epistemic Values Shape Democracy

Epistemic values determine the types of knowledge societies embrace. The shift from traditional to cosmopolitan epistemic values has important implications for democracy.  The Social Value of the Intellectual The trial of Socrates captures the imagination of intellectuals, because it reflects their greatest fear. The natural identity of an intellectual relies on a radical sense of... Continue Reading →

The Agnosticism of Political Institutions

Too often theorists describe political institutions as though they are inherently democratic or authoritarian. In truth institutions have a political ambivalence toward normative values. Institutions do not define political regimes, rather they adapt to them. This is the fifth section of my description of democracy and part of a larger comprehensive work called The Democracy Paradox. ... Continue Reading →

The Politics of Violence

The Politics of Violence is an authoritarian impulse present in all forms of government including democracy. This is the fourth section on my description of democracy and part of a larger comprehensive work called The Democracy Paradox. Police as a Coercive Apparatus of the State The trial of Derek Chauvin and the murder of George Floyd... Continue Reading →

Principles of Process, Principles of Policy

The distinction between principles of process and principles of policy is key to an understanding of democratic governance and its theory. This marks the third section of an effort to offer a comprehensive theory of democracy called The Democracy Paradox. Eisenhower Conservatism Dwight Eisenhower is the model of the pragmatic conservative lost from the political environment... Continue Reading →

Mouffe’s Democratic Paradox

The Democracy Paradox differentiates itself from the Democratic Paradox this week. Every week I write a new part as I work through the different components of democratic theory. This is the second part of the first chapter called "Democracy Defined." What is Mouffe's Democratic Paradox? The Democracy Paradox is not the Democratic Paradox. Many scholars... Continue Reading →

What is the Democracy Paradox?

The Democracy Paradox is a wide ranging theory of democracy. Every week I write a new part as I work through the different components of democratic theory. This is the first part of the first chapter called "Democracy Defined." Brief Account of Venezuela Unlike many of the democracies in Latin America, Venezuela’s democracy extends back... Continue Reading →

Meritocratic Ideals Can Undermine Democracy

Michael Sandel describes the meritocratic ideal as a dystopian aspiration in The Tyranny of Merit. Justin Kempf reflects on this book and considers how meritocratic ambitions can undermine democratic governance. What is Justice Justice is an ideal divided between claims of inequality and equality. Philosophers as early as Plato and Aristotle defined it as what each... Continue Reading →

Up ↑