Become a Patron! Order Dan Slater and Joseph Wong's From Development to Democracy: The Transformations of Modern Asia. Available for sale this week. Make a one-time Donation to Democracy Paradox. Is the United States a Republic or a Democracy? I'm sure you have heard somebody say, "The United States is not a democracy. It is... Continue Reading →
Pluralism and its Complications for Democracy
Become a Patron! Pluralism in Democracy Robert Dahl saw pluralism as a foundation of democracy and a challenge to democracy. The presence of independent organizations represent the freedom of association. They also provide opportunities to decentralize power throughout society. However, the growth of organizations also creates new centers of power that impose their influence... Continue Reading →
Is Consensus Democratic?
Become a Patron! Democratic Consensus Let's start with an admission. Consensus is never simple. On the surface, it feels democratic. It comes across as a meeting of the minds where disagreements are overcome. However, large groups will never reach true consensus. Even the assemblies at Zuccotti Park did not require unanimous consent. They discovered a... Continue Reading →
Democratic Leadership in Hard Places
Become a Patron! Democratic Leadership Democracy has always had a complicated relationship with its leaders. For starters democracy is the one form of government where leaders are regularly cast aside. Winston Churchill navigated Great Britain through World War II, but his party lost power shortly before the war's conclusion. For many leadership itself is undemocratic.... Continue Reading →
The Moderation of Liberalism?
Become a Patron! The sixth and final post on Francis Fukuyama’s recent book Liberalism and its Discontents. The Moderation of Liberalism Francis Fukuyama includes a puzzling line near the beginning of Liberalism and its Discontents. The title suggests an uncompromising defense of liberalism against its critics. However, Fykuyama writes, "The answer to these discontents is... Continue Reading →
Why Does Liberalism Matter
Become a Patron! The second of six posts on Francis Fukuyama’s recent book Liberalism and its Discontents. Why Does Liberalism Matter Like so many other ideas in the political lexicon, liberalism is surprisingly difficult to define. Francis Fukuyama, however, does not shy away from the attempt. He writes, "Classical liberalism is a big tent that... Continue Reading →
Yascha Mounk on the Great Experiment of Diverse Democracies
Yascha Mounk is a Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University and the founder of Persuasion. Mounk is also a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure.... Continue Reading →
Can Diverse Democracies Succeed?
The Great Experiment Americans, according to John Jay, were “a people descended from the same ancestors speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs.” He believed American commonalities made self-governance possible. The sentiment was a bit of a stretch even in... Continue Reading →
Lisa Disch on Representation, Constituencies, and Political Leadership
Lisa Disch is a professor of political science at the University of Michigan and an elected member of the Ann Arbor City Council. She is the author of the book Making Constituencies: Representation as Mobilization in Mass Democracy. Become a Patron! The tension in what we want from democratic representation is that we... Continue Reading →
Is Representation Democratic?
Become a Patron! Representation and Democracy Perhaps the most widely cited book on democracy is Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition by Robert Dahl. Despite its widespread influence in the literature on democracy, very few writers refer to polyarchy. Instead, it’s become replaced with the more common term liberal democracy. Of course, I’m aware some find a... Continue Reading →