Limiting Government: An Introduction to Constitutionalism

Limiting Government: An Introduction to Constitutionalism

Limiting Government: An Introduction to Constitutionalism

Limiting Government: An Introduction to Constitutionalism

Excerpt

Contemporary political societies operate in the name of democracy. We live under die spell of equality. Even die communist regimes claimed to be people's democracies, "the only genuine form of democracy." Democracy satisfies everyone's wish to be treated as equal. One may believe that she is more or better than her compatriots, but she will, and has to, accept the assumption of equality. Otherwise, she may loose too much. Her own equality might be challenged. Without assuming the equality of every member of society, every member's equal human dignity, there might be an endless, all-destructive politics of exclusion. This is dramatically demonstrated where there is ethnic cleansing. Political democracy, as we know it, is also a convenient assumption for those who are in fact not equal but more powerful than others. Through the use of democratic processes they, in fact, will keep and perhaps improve their positions. The democratic forms of politics and the legislation created through sporadic elections based on equal vote satisfy the needs of the powers that be. Democracy allows political victors to take their booty without depriving others of the chance of a better arrangement in the future. Put less cynically, democracy allows all the citizens of a state to change public affairs for the better, in a civilized process-at least in principle.

The new governments emerging from the leftover trash of the defeated fascist regimes and Soviet totalitarianism were envisioned and legitimated as democracies. Unfortunately but inevitably, democracy . . .

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