Chantal Mouffe – On the Political

Condescension toward political polarization begins from a position of privilege. It requires an expectation of inclusion within the political process. Elites assume polarization is a problem with a simple cure. But the reality is it is a symptom of deeper systemic problems without simple solutions. Polarization is a manifestation of the politics of exclusion. It... Continue Reading →

E.B. White – On Democracy

My kids know E.B. White as the author of Charlotte’s Web. Both of my kids were expected to read this classic on their own. Some books are written for children to read rather than their parents to read to them. I held off reading The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham until... Continue Reading →

Chantal Mouffe – The Democratic Paradox

A paradox is distinct from a contradiction. Sometimes the two ideas are confused. They are used interchangeably in ways which remove the impact of the concept of paradox. It is true ‘paradox’ feels a bit more exotic than the more pedantic ‘contradiction.’ But this is no reason to distort its meaning. A contradiction is where... Continue Reading →

Robert Dahl – Polyarchy

The United States faces a crisis of political identity. Many have found purpose in a redefinition of the American political constitution as a democracy. Indeed, the United States has gone beyond its borders to promote democracy around the world. But there is an internal tension among its citizens as to whether the United States embodies... Continue Reading →

Populism and Liberal Democracy Podcast #5

Takis Pappas explains his theories of populism and liberal democracy. He uses comparative analysis to establish a theoretical context. Before this conversation was recorded, Justin Kempf wrote a reflection on his recent book Populism and Liberal Democracy.    Populism as Illiberal Democracy A lot has been made about Viktor Orbán. Indeed, some have argued too... Continue Reading →

Chantal Mouffe – The Return of the Political

The final chapter of the political science classic, Political Man, was titled “The End of Ideology?” He refers to a conference in 1955 called “The Future of Freedom.” It assembled political thinkers from a diverse range of viewpoints. It included conservatives, socialists and liberals, but there was little political debate. There “was general agreement among... Continue Reading →

David Stasavage – The Decline and Rise of Democracy

Democracy is “a natural occurring condition in humanity societies.” This single idea sets Stasavage apart from so many theorists who look to the past. His first chapter, “The Origins of Democratic Rule,” is as breathtaking as it is ambitious. He reshapes the narrative of the democratic origins through a broad examination of different peoples throughout... Continue Reading →

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