Democratic threats

Why it’s bad for democracy when we ignore the voices we would rather not hear

Why it’s bad for democracy when we ignore the voices we would rather not hear

Democracy requires that citizens be empowered to speak their minds across a wide range of issues. But in order to ensure democratic equality, do we have to include and listen even to those hateful, racist, or misogynistic voices that would seek to undermine democracy? Mary F. (Molly) Scudder argues that it is only with reference to the concept of ‘uptake’ that we can effectively deal with anti-democratic speech and arguments. She argues that if we first consider and critically engage with what others have to say, we are then justified in rejecting their input and even shutting them down. Focusing on the importance of uptake in democratic deliberation, she argues,can sound the alarm – alerting people to threats to democracy – while also helping to ensure that the voices of the marginalised and oppressed are not dismissed or ignored.

The populists’ trap: mainstream responses to populist new parties are a threat to democracy

The populists’ trap: mainstream responses to populist new parties are a threat to democracy

New populist and nativist parties have emerged in many western democracies as a response to large-scale economic transformations, argues Stephane Wolton. The reaction by established parties in trying to imitate their anti-immigrant policies have dangerous consequences for our democratic norms.

The flawed assumption of the centrist paradox and support for democracy

The flawed assumption of the centrist paradox and support for democracy

The so called ‘centrist paradox’ refers to the idea, proposed by David Adler, that an observed decline in support for democracy across the world has occurred primarily among centrist voters, rather than those who lie at the extremes of the policy spectrum. Elli Palaiologou argues that this theory is based on a flawed assumption that all individuals located between the left and right can be regarded as ‘centrist’. In reality, this ‘centrist’ group contains a large number of individuals who are simply less willing to take strong political positions, including on the value of democracy.

Democratic decay: the threat with a thousand names

Democratic decay: the threat with a thousand names

States across the globe are facing increasing political and social threats that are eroding the quality of their democratic systems. In response, academics, policy-makers and politicians have adopted a plethora of terms that attempt to describe this process of democratic decay. Tom Gerald Daly argues that, while it is impossible to impose uniform terminology, if we wish to confront these challenges to liberal democracy, more work needs to be done to map the academic landscape, including greater cross-disciplinary collaboration.