When the Law Legitimizes Democratic Backsliding

Become a Patron! Preorder Laura Gamboa's Resisting Backsliding: Opposition Strategies against the Erosion of Democracy here. When the Law Legitimizes Democratic Backsliding Typically we think democratic breakdowns involve coups or civil wars. However, democratic erosion "happens over time. It takes years for an executive with hegemonic aspirations to succeed in eroding democracy." Moreover, democratic backsliding frequently happens... 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 →

The Case for Constitutional Politics

The Constitution has Become Political By now the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer has become old news. But the political conflict over his successor has only just begun. Republicans have made the control of the Supreme Court a key part of their political agenda. Senator Lindsey Graham recently noted in resignation the Democrats have the... Continue Reading →

International Law: Why Do Democracies Embrace it?

International Law and Democracies International is a riddle for the political theorist. It exists despite the absence of any formal state or government. So, not only is there no international body to enforce its edicts, but it lacks any formal institution to promulgate its laws. It bypasses the notion of sovereignty traditional democratic theory depended... Continue Reading →

The State and Institutional Overlap

Military Coups On February 1st, the Tatmadaw arrested the Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, many other politicians from the National League of Democracy, and declared a state of emergency. The Tatmadaw has formally held power in Myanmar between 1988 and 2011. But it also held power informally as early as 1962. The recent... Continue Reading →

The Rule of Law and Institutional Hegemony

Distinguishing the Law from the State Few political theories take the time to distinguish between the law and the state. This is a catastrophic mistake. This oversight begins with a neglect to reflect on the nature of institutions, but it also involves a carelessness with early political history. Early modern political theory did meditate on... 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 →

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