Subject: Defining democracy

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July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

The Pipe Dream of Undemocratic Liberalism

A look at liberal democracy’s complex historical evolution shows that elite fantasies of liberalism without democracy are ill-founded. Authoritarian legacies and democratic deficits lie at the core of trends that threaten liberal rights.

October 2015, Volume 26, Issue 4

Exploring “Non-Western Democracy”

Often called for but seldom defined with any precision, “non-Western democracy” could end up giving cover to authoritarianism, but also could allow potentially useful democratic innovations to be tried and tested.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty Years of Postcommunism: Freedom and the State

This is a central problem—perhaps the central problem—for classical liberal theory and its crucial distinction between the state of nature and the civil state. Which is better for liberty: nature or the state?

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April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Religion and Democracy

The secularization hypothesis has failed, and failed spectacularly. We must find a new paradigm to help us understand the complexities of the relationship between religion and democracy.

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: Tools of Autocracy

Arguably a flawed democracy in the 1990s, Russia took a distinctly authoritarian turn under President Vladimir Putin from 2000 to 2008. The country now lives under a façade democracy that barely conceals the political and administrative dominance of a self-interested bureaucratic corporation. The regime manufactures consent by means of three tools: information and propaganda campaigns…

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: Are They Democrats? Does It Matter?

The journalistic and policy communities have been alive with speculation as to whether Islamist groups involved in politics—including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Palestine’s Hamas— are true believers in democracy or calculating pragmatists who, in Steven Cook’s words, are “seeking to use democratic procedures in order to advance an antidemocratic agenda.”

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from a petition containing "Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibet Situation," written by 29 Chinese intellectuals after the Chinese government put down protests in Tibet against Beijing's treatment of the Tibetan people. Excerpts from a speech given by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso at the formal launch of the European Foundation for…

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April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

Scholarship and Statesmanship

Seymour Martin Lipset’s contributions to political science and sociology are not theoretical achievements alone, but reflect his keenly practical moral awareness, his understanding of leadership, and his great love of democracy as the finest form of government ever devised.

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April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

The Rise of “Muslim Democracy”

The incentives created by competitive elections in a number of Muslim-majority countries are fueling a political trend that roughly resembles the rise of Christian Democracy in twentieth-century Europe

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April 2004, Volume 15, Issue 2

The Anti-American Century?

The twentieth century has been called "the American century," but it appears that the twenty-first may be dominated by anti-Americanism, an all-purpose ideology that poses a serious obstacle to the progress of democracy.

April 2004, Volume 15, Issue 2

Christianity and Democracy: The Global Picture

That modern democracy first arose with the ambit of Western Christianity is far from an accident. Today, the major Christain communions largely support democracy, even while necessarily retaining the right to criticize democratic decisions in the name fo religious truth claims.

April 2004, Volume 15, Issue 2

Constitutional Design for Divided Societies

Constitution writers in ethnically or otherwise divided countries should focus on designing a system of power-sharing rules and institutions. Studies by political scientists point to a set of basic recommendations that should form a starting point for constitutional negotiations.

January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Europe Moves Eastward: Challenges of EU Enlargement

As it prepares to go from 15 to 25 member states, the EU has improved the prospects for democracy in the East, but nothing about enlargement promises to resolve the vexing issue of democracy within the EU structure itself.

January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Does Diversity Hurt Democracy?

It has been claimed in the pages of this journal that a homogeneous society is an advantage when it comes to democratization. How might this suggestion be empirically tested, and with what (perhaps preliminary) results?

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July 1999, Volume 10, Issue 3

Democracy as a Universal Value

In the summer of 1997, I was asked by a leading Japanese newspaper what I thought was the most important thing that had happened in the twentieth century. I found this to be an unusually thought-provoking question, since so many things of gravity have happened over the last hundred years. The European empires, especially the…

July 1998, Volume 9, Issue 3

India Defies the Odds: Enduring Another Election

Indians appear to love the practice of democracy so much that they are in danger of overdoing it. In February and March of 1998, the world's largest democracy held its twelfth general election since gaining its independence a half-century ago. The voting was largely fair and peaceful. New, right-of-center rulers led by the Bharatiya Janata…

Winter 1990, Volume 1, Issue 1

Tiananmen and Beyond: After the Massacre

The following text is based upon remarks presented by Wuer Kaixi in Washington, D.C. on 2 August 1989 at a meeting cosponsored by the Congressional Human Rights Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy.