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 →

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 →

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 →

How to Use Science in a Democracy

Science in a Democracy In the classic work Democracy and its Critics, Robert Dahl said Plato made the most compelling case against democracy. Most of us recall Plato imagined a republic where a philosopher king ruled over an orderly utopia. For most of us it’s difficult to take seriously the idea of a philosopher king... Continue Reading →

Democratic Backsliding: How it Happens and Why

Democratic Backsliding I don’t like to write about American politics. Anything I say becomes interpreted through the lens of partisanship rather than as political theory. At the same time, it’s become difficult to discuss the global decline of democracy without mentioning the United States. Of course, it does help to limit the discussion to specific... Continue Reading →

Up ↑