Democracy

Download e-book for iPad: Democracy without Politics by Steven Bilakovics

By Steven Bilakovics

ISBN-10: 0674058224

ISBN-13: 9780674058224

In Western democracies this day, politics and politicians are held in contempt via nearly all of voters. Steven Bilakovics argues that this disdain of politics follows neither from the discontents of our liberal political approach nor from the preoccupations of a client society. particularly, extending Tocqueville’s research of the fashionable democratic lifestyle, he lines the assets of political cynicism to democracy itself.

Democratic society’s defining openness—its promise of transcendent freedom and limitless power—renders the standard politics of argument and persuasion absurd by way of comparability. Persuasion is devalued relative to the norms of free-market pageant and patriotic neighborhood, assertions of self-interest and self-expression take where of arguing jointly, and political lifestyles is reduced through the absence of mediating speak. Bilakovics identifies this pattern around the political landscape—in the clashing authenticities of the "culture war," the perennial pursuit of the political outsider to set issues correct back, the decision for a postpartisan politics, emerging calls for on executive along falling expectancies of what executive can do, and in a political rhetoric that's right now petty and hyperbolic. To reform democratic politics and ameliorate its pathologies, Bilakovics calls on us to beat our anti-political prejudice and reconsider strong democracy because the citizen's perform of persuading and being persuaded in turn.

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49 They will sacrifice everything for material well-being and will not sacrifice material well-being for anything. And this timid disposition interlaces with temperate virtues just as easily as it does with trivial vices. ”51 In their needy and respectable materialism, the children of the democratic revolution end up too well behaved—moderate to excess. ”55 In Tocqueville’s account, what we come to lack—despite our prosperity and enlightenment and political sovereignty—is the aristocrat’s proud disposition.

Both equally work for wages, if not for equal wages. Inequality persists, hierarchy does not. And it is this political transformation, this shift in the principle of legitimate human association, that utterly reshapes modern existence. As we shall see, perhaps the most basic conceit of Tocqueville’s work is that this transformation in the norms of human relations reorients our beliefs concerning what is real and necessary, what is possible and ideal, and even our perception of time and space. The idea of a democratically integrated society colonizes and reorders every sphere of life, including the life of the mind.

Which avenues of communication become predominant, and which are left unused? As I have begun to detail, democratic society is largely principled upon the freedom of openness—the freedom that becomes intelligible only after the revolutionary collapse of hierarchy and advent of equality. This freedom takes shape as the fight for power over, and the flight from, others and the world. In the company of equals, we compete in the antipaternalistic free market, and we relax within the fatherless family of our intimate community.

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Democracy without Politics by Steven Bilakovics


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