Can’t We Come Up with Something Better Than Liberal Democracy?

  • Can’t We Come Up with Something Better Than Liberal Democracy? Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

    The West’s favored form of self-government is looking creaky. A legal scholar and a philosopher propose some alternatives.

    …Getting the part to act as the whole presupposes an agreement among the whole. There is no such agreement. Trumpism and Obamaism are not two expressions of one will for collective action; they are radically incommensurable views about what’s needed…

    The perennial temptation of leftist politics is to suppose that opposition to its policies among the rank and file must be rooted in plutocratic manipulation, and therefore curable by the reassertion of the popular will. The evidence suggests, alas, that very often what looks like plutocratic manipulation really is the popular will…

    Kōjin Karatani… s a staunch egalitarian, who believes that democracy actually exemplifies the basic oppressive rhythm of “ruler and ruled.” His ideal is, instead, “isonomia,” the condition of a society in which equal speaks to equal as equal, with none ruled or ruling, and he believes that such an order existed around the Ionian Islands of the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.E., before the rise of Athens…

    …Yet the basic inquiry into the possibility of human relationships that Karatani undertakes is moving, even inspiring. Though he doesn’t cite them, his Ionians most resemble the classic anarchists, of the Mikhail Bakunin or Emma Goldman kind: repudiating all power relations, ruler to ruled, in a way that shames more timid liberal imaginations. (Posted in Democracy/Articles)

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