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 →

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 →

The Politics of Violence

The Politics of Violence is an authoritarian impulse present in all forms of government including democracy. This is the fourth section on my description of democracy and part of a larger comprehensive work called The Democracy Paradox. Police as a Coercive Apparatus of the State The trial of Derek Chauvin and the murder of George Floyd... Continue Reading →

Principles of Process, Principles of Policy

The distinction between principles of process and principles of policy is key to an understanding of democratic governance and its theory. This marks the third section of an effort to offer a comprehensive theory of democracy called The Democracy Paradox. Eisenhower Conservatism Dwight Eisenhower is the model of the pragmatic conservative lost from the political environment... Continue Reading →

Mouffe’s Democratic Paradox

The Democracy Paradox differentiates itself from the Democratic Paradox this week. Every week I write a new part as I work through the different components of democratic theory. This is the second part of the first chapter called "Democracy Defined." What is Mouffe's Democratic Paradox? The Democracy Paradox is not the Democratic Paradox. Many scholars... Continue Reading →

What is the Democracy Paradox?

The Democracy Paradox is a wide ranging theory of democracy. Every week I write a new part as I work through the different components of democratic theory. This is the first part of the first chapter called "Democracy Defined." Brief Account of Venezuela Unlike many of the democracies in Latin America, Venezuela’s democracy extends back... Continue Reading →

Rural Consciousness as Political Identity

Rural consciousness has redefined the nature of identity politics as it shifts the dominant political conflicts from class to place. This is the second part of a series on political identity and its place within democratic theory. Rural Communities in Political Conflicts The divide between those dependent on an agricultural economy and an industrial economy... Continue Reading →

Populist Logic and Populist Mindset

A populist logic is necessary to understand the populist mindset. Justin Kempf reflects on Ernesto Laclau's classic On Populist Reason to construct a sense of logic within a largely illogical political mindset.  What is Populism? Populism implies widespread support. It indicates popular public policies. So it may come as a surprise populists do not always win... Continue Reading →

Would a Leftist Populism be Democratic?

  In her most recent book, philosopher Chantal Mouffe imagines the potential for a leftist populism.Her book For a Left Populism strives to align her ideas of radical democracy through the vehicle of populism. Justin Kempf reflects on the nature of populism in the piece below.   What is Populism? The irony of populism is it... Continue Reading →

Can Deliberative Theory be Liberal?

John Dryzek is among the foremost scholars of deliberative democratic theory. His book Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations offers a strong defense of deliberative theory against rival schools of democratic theory. Justin Kempf reflects on this seminal work of deliberative democratic theory.  Liberal Democracy Defined Liberal democracy is a marriage between two independent ideas... Continue Reading →

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