Political Culture and Constitutionalism: A Comparative Approach

By Daniel P. Franklin; Michael J. Baun | Go to book overview

On the one hand, demands for national self-determination require immediate attention and have been explicitly endorsed by the international community. On the other, the formal recognition of national self-determination sows the seeds of the destruction of the state and the collapse of democracy somewhere down the line. Can the aspirations of nationality be served through a process that involves less than the formal and permanent recognition of divisions in society? For this question we do not have an answer. To its elucidation we dedicate this effort. What of our collective expertise can we bring to bear for the solution of this seemingly intractable problem?

The trappings of democracy have little meaning without the foundation of a constitutional base. Much of the optimism following the collapse of the Soviet Union concerning the potential for the expansion of democracy was misplaced. Many Western clients during the cold war were not ripe for democracy and, in the absence of massive Western assistance, will slip back to the status of preconstitutional, authoritarian regimes. Certainly the former clients of the Soviet Union will not automatically become democratic states. The absence of communism does not in itself guarantee a liberal democratic government. In fact, we believe that a large percentage of the world's states are still without a political culture appropriate to the establishment of a constitutional regime. Thus the first step in the establishment of a democracy should be the development of a constitutional state. This, we expect, will be the most difficult objective to achieve.


Notes
1
Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man ( New York: Free Press, 1992).
2
Samuel Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), p. 5.
3
Robert Dahl, A Preface to Democratic Theory ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), reprinted in Classic Readings in American Politics, ed. Pietro Nivola and David Rosenbloom ( New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), p. 211.
4
Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963).
5
Max Weber, "The Nature of Social Action", in Weber: Selections in Translation, ed. W. G. Runciman ( London: Cambridge University Press, 1978), p. 17.
6
Rosa Luxemburg, "The Russian Revolution", in Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, ed. Mary-Alice Waters ( New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970), pp. 365-95.

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