By Alexander S. Kirshner
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Additional resources for A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism
I never agreed to the contract in the first place. The same logic holds for antidemocrats in representative regimes: they are coerced, if justifiably, into playing the game of democracy. For our present purposes, however, it is important that even scholars who make the argument from bad faith still acknowledge that antidemocrats possess basic democratic interests. Democrats, the bad-faith argument goes, are simply released from their duty to 42 Self-Limiting Theory of Militant Democracy respect the rights of antidemocrats as a result of antidemocrats’ disingenuous actions.
Instead, his writing describes an ethic of democratic rebellion, an ethic that emphasized two concerns: the importance of a pluralistic, open, and untidy form of representative government and the need for democrats to embrace a 32 Self-Limiting Theory of Militant Democracy nonutopian conception of democratization, a conception of democratization fitted for a citizenry with an aptitude for both virtue and corruption. The next two sections of this chapter outline why Michnik’s twin concerns should inform the militant defense of democracy.
43 This is the principle of limited intervention. This principle of intervention is limited or self-limiting; it implies that policies that restrict antidemocrats’ equal right to participate cannot be justified in the name of achieving an ideal regime. My working assumption is that the kinds of regimes in which militant policies might be employed are actually existing and substantially imperfect representative regimes or polyarchies. The principle of limited intervention envisages restrictions on participation that respond to or head off rights violations, leaving both antidemocrats 47 Self-Limiting Theory of Militant Democracy and democrats able to pursue their political ends safely within the context of a polyarchy.