Are Defenders of Liberal Democracy Its Gravediggers?


Abstrakt

Recent years have witnessed the publication of a number of research papers and books seeking to assess threats of electoral victories of anti-establishment politicians and political parties, described as authoritarian populists. This essay focuses on three books directly addressing the origins and threats of authoritarian populism to democracy. It consists of six sections and the conclusion. The first section presents findings (Norris and Inglehart) based on surveys of values of voters of various age cohorts concluding that authoritarian populism is a temporary backlash provoked by the post-materialist perspective. The second section examines the contention, spelled out in Levitsky and Ziblatt, that increase in openness of American political system produced,  unintentionally, a degradation of the American political system. The third section continues brief presentations focusing on to the causes and implications of “illiberal democracy,” and “undemocratic liberalism” (Mounk). The fourth section examines developments in the quality of democracy in the world showing that despite the decline in Democracy Indices, overall there was no slide towards non-democratic forms of government in 2006–2019. The next two sections deal with dimensions missing in reviewed books; the notion of nation-state, international environment, civic culture and, in particular, dangers of radical egalitarianism to democracy. The last section concludes with regrets that the authors ignored rich literature on fragility of democracy and failed to incorporate in their analyses deeper structural factors eroding democracy: by the same token, return to the pre-populist shock trajectory is unlikely to assure survival of liberal democracy.


Bell, Daniel. 1978. The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.

Brzezinski, Zbigniew. 1997. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. New York: Basic Books.

Burke, Edmund. 1969. Reflections on the Revolution in France. New York: Penguin Books.

Canovan Margaret. 1999. “Trust the people! Populism and the two faces of democracy.” Political Studies 47: 2–16.

Constant Benjamin. 1997. Principes de Politique. Paris: Hachette Littératures.

Diamond, Larry. 2015. “Facing up to the democratic recession.” Journal of Democracy 26, no. 1.

Hamilton, Alexander, John Jay, James Madison. [1787] (n.d.). The Federalist. E. M. Earle (ed.). New York: Random House Modern Library.

Inglehart, Ronald. 1977. The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles Among Wester Publics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Inglehart, Ronald. 1990. Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Kołakowski, Leszek. 2009, Czy Pan Bóg jest szczęśliwy i inne pytania [Is God happy and other questions]. Kraków: Znak.

Olson, Mancur. 1982. The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagnation and Social Rigidities. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Ostrom, Vincent. 1987. The Political Theory of a Compound Republic: Designing the American Experiment, 2nd edition. Lincoln–London: University of Nebraska Press.

Ostrom, Vincent. 1997. The Meaning of Democracy and the Vulnerability of Democracies. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Philippon, Thomas. 2019. The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press.

Raghunandan, Aneesh, Shiva Rajgopal. 2019. “Is there real virtue behind the Business Roundtable’s signaling?” The Wall Street Journal, December 2.

Sennett, Richard. 1978. The Fall of the Public Man: On the Social Psychology of Capitalism. New York: Vintage Books.

Wildavsky, Aaron. 1990. „Robert Bork and the crime of inequality”, National Affairs, no. 42 (https://www.nationalaffairs.com/public_interest/detail/robert-bork-and-the-crime-of-inequality).

Wildavsky, Aaron. 1991. The Rise of Radical Egalitarianism, Washington, D.C.: The American University Press.


Opublikowane : 2019-12-27


Kamiński, A. Z., & Kamiński, B. K. (2019). Are Defenders of Liberal Democracy Its Gravediggers?. Kultura I Społeczeństwo, 63(4), 151-176. https://doi.org/10.35757/KiS.2019.63.4.8

Antoni Z. Kamiński 
Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN  Polska
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8772-3794
Bartłomiej K. Kamiński 
Uniwersytet Maryland  Stany Zjednoczone
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6242-7702