By Alexander S. Kirshner
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Additional info for A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism
The evaluation of emergency measures will share the same structure as the evaluation of militant measures: we need to use measure X to preserve regime Y, but will employing measure X actually undermine regime Y? Despite this important similarity, citizens who reject democracy are not akin to foreign enemies; successfully defending democracy depends not on defeating antidemocrats, but on reincorporating them into the political community. As a result, the protection of representative institutions is by its nature a long-term political project.
He and his colleagues viewed the unbridled pursuit of an ideal regime as dangerous and potentially self-defeating. 45 No one, of course, should mistake polyarchy for fully democratic government. Democrats should continue to strive for a more perfect regime by working in the context of representative institutions, by mobilizing in the public sphere, or by engaging in justified civil disobedience. But if the principle of limited intervention holds, militant democrats will not treat political exclusion, full or partial, as a means of realizing a democratic utopia.
By intrinsic I mean that the motivating conception of justice cannot feasibly be achieved without democratic institutions and that shifts away from democratic practice will, in general, reduce a regime’s legitimacy. Critically, this account of democracy does not imply that democratic procedures are required to determine what is or is not democratic. If that were true, democratic principles could not be revolutionary principles. Democrats in authoritarian regimes, democrats like Adam Michnik, must have a sense of democracy’s value to see those practices as an ideal worthy of rebellion.
A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism by Alexander S. Kirshner