The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy


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These practices allow the wealthy few to make billions of dollars while squashing and neglecting the rights and dignity of the working class. These effects are obvious through history, even as recently as the Great Recession of , when the Bush administration thought their regulational cuts on the economy would sustain the housing market, causing its ultimate demise. In contrast, democratic policies, such as those created under Obama, helped lift the economy out of a deep pit and restore everyday Americans to financial security.

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Republicans in Congress also aim to twist important social issues into elitist concerns. The fact that many Republicans continue to present climate change as a hoax is obviously due to their entanglements with big businesses that refuse to admit that their practices are ruining billions of lives and depleting the futures of young people. Republicans also enforce elitist laws and policies by introducing repressive voter registration laws that are increasing in popularity in the South. A prime example is a North Carolina law from , which requires voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls and shortens early voting to 10 days.

These policies are abominable and racist attempts to obstruct democracy and further emphasize the elitist tendencies of conservatives.

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While politics are always inevitably corrupt to some extent on both sides of the aisle, it is crucial that Americans understand that fundamentally, Republican policies tend to benefit wealthy elites. We cannot allow ourselves to fall prey to the damaging and extremely hypocritical rhetoric that Republican politicians use to destabilize Democratic Party platforms. We must combat these tactics tooth and nail. Virginia Suardi is a junior who is probably eating strawberries and cherries right now.

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If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar. Name required. Email Address required. Speak your mind. Compassion is a collective effort. Students need space, not stress, to thrive. Trump crushed my dreams. For those who believe in liberal democracy, it is sobering to review the events of the past quarter-century. Twenty-five years ago, liberal democracy was on the march.


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The Berlin Wall had fallen; the Soviet Union had collapsed; new democracies were emerging throughout Europe, and Russia seemed to be in transition as well. Liberal democracy had triumphed, it seemed, not only in practice but also in principle. It was the only legitimate form of government. There was no alternative. Today, the global scene is very different. Liberal norms and policies, they claim, weaken democracy and harm the people.

Thus, liberal institutions that prevent the people from acting democratically in their own interest should be set aside. It is this challenge on which I wish to focus. Across Europe and North America, long-established political arrangements are facing a revolt. Its milestones have included the Brexit vote; the U.

When I began writing about this emerging revolt a few years ago, I believed that economics lay at its core. Contemporary liberal democracy, I argued, rested on a tacit compact between peoples on the one hand and elected representatives together with unelected experts on the other. The people would defer to elites as long as they delivered sustained prosperity and steadily improving living standards.

But if elites stopped managing the economy effectively, all bets were off. This compact began to weaken with growing competition from developing nations, which put pressure on policies designed to protect the citizens of advanced democracies against labor-market risks. The erosion of the manufacturing sector and the urbanization of opportunity—the shift of economic dynamism away from smaller communities and rural areas toward a handful of metropolitan centers—destabilized geographic regions and political structures.

Inequality rose. A globalized economy, it turned out, served the interests of most people in developing countries and elites in advanced countries—but not the interests of the working and middle classes in the developed economies, which had done so well in the three decades after World War II. As economies struggled and unemployment persisted, the groups and regions that failed to rebound lost confidence in mainstream parties and established institutions, fueling the populist upsurge that has upended U.

In recent years, however, I have come to believe that this is only a portion of the truth. A structural explanation that places economics at the base and treats other issues as derivative distorts a more complex reality. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union all failed to deal with waves of immigration in ways that commanded public support. Postelection analyses show that concerns about immigration largely drove the Brexit referendum, the U.

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In government, the media, and major metropolitan areas, technological change has spurred the growth and consolidation of an education-based meritocracy, giving rise to new class divisions. For citizens with less formal education, particularly those in rural areas and smaller towns, the dominance of this new elite has led to feelings of marginalization.

Too often, individuals who have prospered in this meritocracy are seen as harboring a sense of superiority to their fellow citizens.

Denying the equal dignity and worth of others is self-defeating: Insult does even more than injury to fuel resentment, one of the most dangerous of all political passions. With these developments, divisions among citizens based on geography, formal-education levels, and value systems are growing sharper.

Supporters of dynamism and diversity increasingly clash with proponents of stability and homogeneity, beneficiaries of technological change with those harmed by the resulting economic shifts. The combination of economic dislocation, demographic change, and challenges to traditional values has left many less educated citizens feeling that their lives are outside their control.

The national and international governing institutions they thought would step in to help seemed frozen or indifferent.

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Liberalism - Wikipedia

In the United States, partisan polarization gridlocked the system, preventing progress on critical issues. In Europe, the opposite phenomenon—a duopoly of the center-left and center-right that kept important issues off the public agenda—had much the same effect. In light of this apparent inability to address mounting problems, governments across the West face growing public ire. Many citizens, their confidence in the future shaken, long instead for an imagined past that insurgent politicians have promised to restore. The door seems to be opening for a return to forms of authoritarianism written off by many as relics of the past.

To clarify what these developments may mean for liberal democracy, it is helpful to distinguish among four concepts—the republican principle, democracy, constitutionalism, and liberalism. Author William A. Galston Ezra K. The people, this principle holds, are the sole source of legitimacy, and only they can rightly authorize forms of government.

Democracy, at the most basic level, requires both the equality of all citizens and broadly inclusive citizenship. A society in which all citizens are equal but only 10 percent of all adults are citizens would not, today, count as a democracy.

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Together with equal and inclusive citizenship, the other key pillar of democratic governance is majority rule. This means, first, that public decisions are made by popular majorities of citizens whose votes all count equally; and second, that democratic decision making extends to a maximally wide range of public matters. Majoritarianism is limited only by the imperative of preserving the liberties and powers—freedom of speech, assembly, and the press, among others—that citizens need to influence public decisions.

In this conception of democracy unmodified by any adjective, there is nothing essentially undemocratic about majoritarian decisions that systematically disadvantage specific individuals and groups or invade privacy rights. If it wishes, a democratic public may embrace the maxim that it is better for ten guilty individuals to go free than for one innocent individual to be found guilty—but it is no less democratic if it adopts the opposite view.

Nor is it undemocratic per se to conduct judicial proceedings in the same manner as legislative affairs. The Athenian assembly that condemned Socrates may have been wrong, but it was fully democratic. These limits need not constrain public power in the aggregate. The sheer size of modern political communities, however, makes this impossible, even for those communities founded on republican principles.

One might conclude, then, that the liberty of the moderns consists in the selection of representatives through free and fair elections in which all may participate on equal terms. But this is only part of the story. We have now reached the core idea of liberalism: recognizing and protecting a sphere beyond the rightful reach of government in which individuals can enjoy independence and privacy. In this spirit, the U. Declaration of Independence not only invokes but also limits the republican principle.

The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy
The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy
The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy
The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy
The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy The Dark Side of Liberalism: Elitism vs. Democracy: Elitism Vs.Democracy

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