A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting - download pdf or read online
By Alexander S. Kirshner
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Extra info for A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism
There is only one problem. Many citizens—say, a quarter of the adult population—prefer authoritarianism to democracy; these individuals prospered under the old system, and they have no desire to live in a representative polity. Given the opportunity, they would push for a return to dictatorship. For the sake of argument, assume that you have access to a technology that will allow you to reliably distinguish those who oppose democracy from those who do not. There is no 45 Self-Limiting Theory of Militant Democracy threat that you will mistakenly accuse democrats of being antidemocrats.
In the face of this pressure, many if not most individuals will cede their political autonomy, in effect surrendering a portion of themselves. The freedom to choose is thus an essential interest protected by the right to participate. The interests I have described ground individuals’ rights to participate, and they can be consistently satisfied and protected only through a democratic political process. Restricting a group’s access to the political arena seriously jeopardizes its well-being. And given the basic interests at stake, individuals have a duty to respect each other’s ability to engage in meaningful political activity.
As a result, citizens cannot assume that democratic participation signals acceptance, and antidemocrats cannot be accused of acting in a deceptive manner when they play the game of democracy. The logic here is illustrated by the following example. Imagine that I am forced to sign a contract with my employer. I might try to improve my lot by bargaining over the terms of this arrangement. But if I later break this coercive contract, my employer cannot complain that I have acted in bad faith or acted deceptively because I had haggled for a better deal.
A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism by Alexander S. Kirshner