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Democratic Elitism and Western Political Thought

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

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.

Affiliations: 1: Government & Sociology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-1087, USA

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/content/journals/10.1163/156913309x447611
2009-06-01
2016-12-06

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