Illiberal Democracy

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Slides based on the Rise of Illiberal Democracies (Fareed Zakaria) for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

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  • Learning Objectives: 1.) To understand the concept of “liberal democracy”. 2.) To appreciate the conceptual difference between democracy and constitutional liberalism.
  • Illiberal Democracy

    1. 1. the rise of illiberal democracies
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Who is Fareed Zakaria? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the difference between democracy and constitutional liberalism? </li></ul><ul><li>What is meant by an illiberal democracy? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Fareed Zakaria <ul><li>Editor of Newsweek International , former managing editor of Foreign Affairs. </li></ul><ul><li>Holds degrees from Yale (History) and Harvard (International Relations) </li></ul><ul><li>Books: The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad and From Wealth to Power </li></ul>
    4. 4. More than Just Democracy <ul><li>Liberalism and democracy are the basic elements of a liberal democracy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both are conceptually distinct </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Democracy can be found in the existence of political liberties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greek Heritage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Liberalism is expressed in the exercise of civil liberties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Roman Heritage </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Democracy <ul><li>As such, democracy is just a process or method of selecting governments </li></ul><ul><li>In its minimalist sense, a democracy entails free and fair elections </li></ul><ul><li>It legitimizes rule in the eyes of the governed </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, it is a descriptive term </li></ul>
    6. 6. Constitutional Liberalism <ul><li>Civil liberties are encapsulated by the concept of constitutional liberalism </li></ul><ul><li>Western tradition of protecting an individual’s autonomy and dignity from coercion </li></ul><ul><li>“Constitutional” in the sense that it is based on the rule of law </li></ul><ul><li>More than descriptive, constitutional liberalism speaks of a government’s goals </li></ul>
    7. 7. I lliberal Democracy <ul><li>There is a tendency to look positively upon governments because they are democratic </li></ul><ul><li>However, just because a country is democratic does not mean it is constitutionally liberal </li></ul><ul><li>Some governments even use democratic processes to legitimize illiberal conduct </li></ul>
    8. 8. Conceptual Matrix Illiberal Democracy Autocracy Low Liberal Democracy High High Low DEMOCRACY CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERALISM Semi- Democracy Liberal Autocracy
    9. 9. Implications <ul><li>There will always be some trade-off between democracy and constitutional liberalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Democracy has to do with accumulation of power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constitutional liberalism pertains to limitations to power </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Democracies in and of themselves are not necessarily good </li></ul>
    10. 10. Implications <ul><li>By and large, constitutional liberalism appears more desirable than democracy </li></ul><ul><li>“Transplanting” democratic institutions becomes problematic: it is only one half of the equation </li></ul><ul><li>Obtaining democracy may not be so much of an end but really a beginning </li></ul>

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