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  • Democracy Versus Democracy: The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy

    Michael Ignatieff

    Chapter from the book: Velasco A. & Bucelli I. 2022. Populism: Origins and Alternative Policy Responses.

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    The current populist challenges in western liberal democracies should not be seen as evidence of their decline, but as a constituent part. The history of democracy shows us that such challenges enable democracy’s growth and evolution. As these modern conflicts and crises see populists seek to capitalise on the discontent of the people, it is evident that much of the conflict comes from tensions between the rule of law and majority rule. Elites seeking to preserve the liberal democratic system need to make their arguments in defence of the rule of law and democratic values, rather than assuming them to be self-evident. We should only become concerned over the fate of liberal democracy when the conflict moves from dialogue into physical violence, or as in Hungary, where the executive has dismantled counter-majoritarian checks. It is only then that the departure from democracy truly begins.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Ignatieff, M. 2022. Democracy Versus Democracy: The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy. In: Velasco A. & Bucelli I (eds.), Populism. London: LSE Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31389/lsepress.pop.c

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Aug. 9, 2022