Political Ideologies: A Comparative Approach

By Mostafa Rejai | Go to book overview
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The programmatic ingredient of democracy is all too familiar to need belaboring. Briefly, democracy requires contending leaders and parties, election and representation, popular participation, education and information. It also rests on popular control to assure responsibility, responsiveness, and accountability of public officials. On a personal level, democracy calls for openness, tolerance, empathy, and flexibility.

At times, the programmatic dimension of democracy has entailed an expansionist element as well. Thus, for instance, when Woodrow Wilson set out "to make the world safe for democracy," his hope and ideal were, in effect, to universalize the values of the American civilization.

The social base of democracy incorporates the entire citizenry, except the fringe groups on the very right and the very left. Seldom, however, do we expect the "entire citizenry" to agree on any major issue. As a result, as is commonly known, democracy is a political system in which conflicting issues and demands are settled by peaceful means. Violent exceptions do take place from time to time, however, as seen in the convulsions of Western democracies in the 1960s.

Selected Bibliography

Almond, Gabriel A., and Sidney Verba. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963.

-----, eds. The Civic Culture Revisited. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980.

Bachrach, Peter. The Theory of Democratic Elitism. Boston: Little, Brown, 1967.

Benello, C. George, and D. Roussopoulos, eds. The Case for Participatory Democracy. New York: Viking, 1971.

Burke, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France ( 1790). Various editions.

Burnheim, John. Is Democracy Possible? The Alternative to Electoral Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Cnudde, Charles F., and Deane E. Neubauer, eds. Empirical Democratic Theory. Chicago: Markham Publications, 1969.

Connolly, William E., ed. The Bias of Pluralism. New York: Atherton Press, 1970.

Cook, Terence E., and Patrick M. Morgan. Participatory Democracy. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Dahl, Robert A. Dilemmas of Pluralist Democracy. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1982.

-----. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1971.


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Political Ideologies: A Comparative Approach


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