The Ethics of liberal democracy: morality and democracy in theory and practice

Providence, R.I., USA: Berg (1994)
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Abstract

Democracy is emerging as the political system of choice throughout the world. Peoples now freed from the shackles of totalitarian systems seek to share the benefits made possible by democracy in its "home bases" in North America and Western Europe. Yet, paradoxically, in the last decade liberal democracy has been subjected to an onslaught of criticism from thinkers at its "home bases". Criticisms of democracy have been informed by scholarship in feminism, postmodernism and communitarianism as well as the revived interest in applying ethics to public policy. These criticisms raise important questions about the traditional values - liberalism, neutrality or equality, autonomy, and human rights - thought to justify democracy. They also raise questions about the success of democratic systems in promoting alternative values and in protecting lifestyles not desired by majorities. This anthology contains essays by authors at the forefront of the controversy as well as by acute observers of the processes by which "democratic" public policy is formed. The essays include criticisms of democratic theory and practice, defences of liberalism (the set of values often thought to ground democracy), calls for major revisions of democratic institutions and practices, and recommendations for new ways of understanding our rights and responsibilities as members of democratic communities. Show More Show Less

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Robert Paul Churchill
George Washington University

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