An Introduction to Democratic Theory

An Introduction to Democratic Theory

An Introduction to Democratic Theory

An Introduction to Democratic Theory

Excerpt

It is only too painfully obvious that there are a number of theories of democracy in circulation. Some of them are extremely vague, few if any of them are fully worked out, and some of them contradict one another. Nor, in view of the popularity and importance of democracy, has there been very much serious writing on the subject, strange as this may seem.

Historians and political scientists in large numbers could be cited to make the same points. One typical comment will suffice:

...there are very few books to which we can turn, and particularly few by Americans, that seriously try to enlighten us about the nature of democracy. If on the contrary we want expositions of the nature of dictatorship we can find them aplenty. Thousands of books have been written about its various forms...but you will find a scant handful of books that offer enlightenment on the principles of democracy.

One sometimes hears it said that times of stress and strain, of rapid social change, always generate political theory. Yet despite the stimulus to political theory in our troubled times, one may reasonably doubt that great constructions in political theory have been made. Until the classic work comes along, we must make do with more modest efforts such as this essay. And anyone who makes even a small effort at a comprehensive theory of democracy must be brash: he must ignore the kind of advice given by Lord Acton to persons about to write History: -- Don't.

The method adopted in this essay is not to present and analyze the medley of democratic theories, noting their differences and . . .

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