Rorty, Derrida, and the Role of Faith in Democracy to Come

Democracy may indeed be an imperfect form of government, but all the others are far worse and this, surely, is a moment for recognizing the benefits which democracy brings, not a moment for drawing attention to its shortcomings. It is a moment for confirming our faith, not a moment for doubting it.” Published over ten years ago, Susan Mendus’ statement could stand as a mantra for our times with democracy diagnosed as being at risk almost as a matter of course in our public domains over the last years. That is, despite its much touted benefits, the assumptions, concepts, and practices of democracy are currently depicted as being under threat from an array of terrorists, dictators, fundamentalists of various stripes, and even from the West’s own instituted reactions to the events of the past few years. On this basis at least it would seem that democracy has not lived up to its promise of being the “solution that other people will necessarily adopt when they cease to be ‘irrational.’” Given these points, perhaps it is advisable to follow Mendus’ advice and stop any examination of democracy that would further expose its frailties and shortcomings and simply affirm our faith in it. Of course, this is not what Mendus herself does. The above words are, after all, to be found at the beginning of an essay that goes on to consider yet another critique of democracy, that comprising the feminist challenge to the historical exclusion of women from democracy
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DOI 10.5840/symposium20071114
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