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 →

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 →

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 →

Francis Fukuyama – Our Posthuman Future

Francis Fukuyama’s fourth book seems out of place. It does not neatly fit into the canon of political science. Fukuyama admits as much. His preface reads like something between an apology and an explanation. His first words read, “Writing a book on biotechnology might seem to be quite a leap for someone who in recent... Continue Reading →

Larry Diamond – The Spirit of Democracy

Larry Diamond is the intellectual conscience of democracy scholarship. Perhaps this assessment is unfair. He is among the great intellectual minds among scholars of democracy living today. Yet his legacy is not necessarily theoretical but rather moral. He has challenged leaders around the world to live up to the standards of liberal democracy. Writing in... Continue Reading →

Robert Dahl – On Political Equality

Dahl’s majoritarianism has never made sense to me. I get the feeling Dahl has different ideas he believes relate to democracy. But he never completely ties them together. There are so many loose ends which he dances around. It’s a beautiful chaos because he is a genius who is completely honest with his intellectual curiosity... Continue Reading →

Robert Putnam – Bowling Alone

The line between the political and the nonpolitical within a democracy is never clear. Alexis de Tocqueville noticed how politics became a common part of life for the average person. Civic engagement shifts from the activities of an organization into the demands of the community without any interruption. Robert Putnam follows a long tradition of... Continue Reading →

Up ↑