Democratic Elitism and Western Political Thought

in Comparative Sociology
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Abstract

Many political thinkers have viewed democratic elitism as closing a democratic road they believe is or should be open-ended. Their view of democratic possibilities reflects the auspicious circumstances of Western societies during the past several centuries and especially since World War II. However, it involves a conflation of liberal and democratic values. I examine why and how this has occurred, and I argue that liberal and democratic values must be more clearly separated in today's dangerous world. In step with Schumpeter, democracy must be regarded as a method or instrumental value that in some but by no means all circumstances promotes the ultimate liberal value of actively individualistic free people.

Democratic Elitism and Western Political Thought

in Comparative Sociology

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