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The Learning Sovereign

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Chapter Summary

Constitutions of democratic republics legitimize political government with an appeal to the sovereignty of the people. In the beginning there is the thesis that the people or rather the population from which emanates all governing power is a "learning sovereign". The thoughts on people's sovereignty fit seamlessly in a concept of democracy with at least two different layers of meaning as restrained and unrestrained forms of political self-determination. It is obvious that libertarian regime and protectionist regime have different effects on societal learning processes and democratic experimentalism. The libertarian regime leans toward an unconditional preference for openness, accepting that "coincidence is worthy to decide our destiny". The protectionists want to avoid too risky or unacceptable coincidences. With regard to the institutions and the practice of the 'militant democracy' in Germany one may discern three prominent paradigms, of interpretation and justification: anti-extremist paradigm; anti-National Socialist paradigm; and civil society paradigm.

Keywords:anti-extremist paradigm; anti-National Socialist paradigm; civil society paradigm; Germany; learning sovereign; libertarian regime; militant democracy; protectionist regime



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