The Future of Truth and Freedom in the Global Village: Modernism and the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

By Thomas R. McFaul | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Fifty Plus One

This chapter compares the forms of government that prevailed during the Premodern period with those that exist in the Modern world. There is little doubt that the political structures of the Premodern period differ substantially from those of Modernism even though Premodern forms of government still survive in the Modern world. As will become clear, one of the major macro trends of the past three centuries has been the consistent, although uneven, spread of democracy throughout Modern society. At its core, the evolution of governing by majority rule, that is, fifty percent plus one more vote, is grounded in the modern quest of Freedom.

First, Premodern approaches to governance will be described below. This will be followed by a discussion of how modern democracy arose out of the dynamic changes that sprang from the Renaissance and Enlightenment—along with the writers who contributed the most to defining its broad principles. Then, after discussing how democracy has spread around the world, the chapter will end by assessing what might lie ahead for democratic governance as the global village grows throughout the 21st century and beyond.

The place to start is with definitions. Every society’s survival depends on its ability to achieve and maintain political stability. If it does not accomplish this successfully, it is only a matter of time before it will collapse into chaos. In order to secure its political future for both the short and the long haul of history, it must address two closely connected concepts: power and authority.

Power refers to the ability of an individual or group to impose its will on others even when opposition exists to that imposition. Authority involves

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The Future of Truth and Freedom in the Global Village: Modernism and the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Chapter 1 - At the Starting Line 1
  • Chapter 2 - Running the Long Race 7
  • Chapter 3 - Pushing the Polarities 29
  • Chapter 4 - The Butterfly 43
  • Chapter 5 - Roaming around in the House 65
  • Chapter 6 - Inside the Big Machine 83
  • Chapter 7 - A Common Thread 103
  • Chapter 8 - Bulging Pockets 121
  • Chapter 9 - Fifty Plus One 139
  • Chapter 10 - Heading into the Future 157
  • Index 183
  • About the Author 191
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