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Democracy versus democracy: the populist challenge to liberal democracy

Ignatieff, Michael (2020) Democracy versus democracy: the populist challenge to liberal democracy. LSE Public Policy Review, 1 (1). ISSN 2633-4046

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Identification Number: 10.31389/lseppr.2


The current populist challenges in western liberal democracies should not be seen as evidence of their decline, but as a constituent part. The history of democracy shows us that such challenges enable democracy’s growth and evolution. As these modern conflicts and crises see populists seek to capitalise on the discontent of the people, it is evident that much of the conflict comes from tensions between the rule of law and majority rule. Elites seeking to preserve the liberal democratic system need to make their arguments in defence of the rule of law and democratic values, rather than assuming them to be self-evident. We should only become concerned over the fate of liberal democracy when the conflict moves from dialogue into physical violence, or as in Hungary, where the executive has dismantled counter-majoritarian checks. It is only then that the departure from democracy truly begins.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 CC-BY The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2020 14:18
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 23:42

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