Jan-Werner Müller on Democracy Rules

Jan-Werner Müller joins the podcast to discuss his new book Democracy Rules. He is a professor of social sciences at Princeton University and the author of the well-known book What is Populism?   It really matters how you set up conflict and how you talk about the issue and above all how you talk about your adversary.... Continue Reading →

Norms in Democracies, Autocracies, and Institutions

Norms and Institutions The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) became law in 1996. It refused to recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level and allowed states to ignore marriage contracts between same-sex couples from other states. The law was never repealed, but was effectively overturned after the Supreme Court Decision Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.... Continue Reading →

Political Authority Explained

Why Do Bad Leaders Stay in Power? Last month Aleksandr Lukashenko intercepted a European airliner and ordered it to land in Minsk so he could arrest the dissident journalist, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend. The plane had not planned to land in Minsk nor had it planned to fly over Belarusian airspace. Belarus used a... Continue Reading →

An Introduction to Political Institutions

Very Brief History of Democracy Promotion The world changed in 1989. Eastern Europe began a process of political liberalization and democratization. A few years later, the Soviet Union collapsed. Fifteen new states emerged from its ashes. The third wave of democratization accelerated as many new nations faced new pressures to liberalize their political and economic... Continue Reading →

Conservative Democracy

Conservatism Reimagined Let me be clear: Conservative democracy is not an illiberal democracy. Indeed, a conservative democracy is a liberal democracy. Let me explain. Democratization depends on liberals, but its consolidation depends on conservatives. A conservative democracy is likely an incomplete democracy, but at the same time it guarantees widespread support for democracy. Now, plenty... Continue Reading →

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 →

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