The Quality of Democracy: Freedom as the Foundation

Issue Date October 2004
Volume 15
Issue 4
Page Numbers 61-75
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The paper begins by exploring the conceptual links between freedom, rights and democracy, and the institutional arrangements necessary to guarantee civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms in a democracy. It then sets out a procedure for assessing the quality of a country's democracy in four successive steps: defining the appropriate democratic 'goods'; identifying standards of best practice as a benchmark for the attainment of each of these 'goods'; analyzing the typical modes of subversion which may prevent their attainment; and exploring possible agencies of protection against these subversions. After applying each of these steps to the subject of civil and political rights, the paper concludes with a reservation about the limits of purely institutional indicators.