"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Oct 8, 2007

Why Democracy?

About Stanley Fish - Think Again

Stanley Fish

Stanley Fish is the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor and a professor of law at Florida International University, in Miami, and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins and Duke University. He is the author of 10 books.

Why Democracy?

A few weeks ago I sat down with an interviewer from the British Broadcasting Company who asked me 10 questions about democracy. I was only one of many who were being interviewed for a series of programs and films that bear the general title “Why Democracy?” Starting today — October 8 — what the producers call “the world’s largest ever factual multi-media event” will be transmitted on television, radio and online in more than 200 countries with a hoped-for audience of 300 million. The intention is to “spark debate” and provoke a massive online discussion.

I thought I’d do my part by rehearsing some of the questions along with the answers I gave and invite readers to respond with their own answers or with criticisms of mine.

Two of the questions are related to one another: “What is the biggest threat to democracy?” and “Can terrorism destroy democracy?” The answers depend on what you think democracy is. I tend to resist romantic definitions that feature phrases like “noble ideal” and opt instead for something more analytic: democracy is a form of government that is not attached to any pre-given political or ideological ends, but allows ends to be chosen by the majority vote of free citizens.

What this means is that democracy is the only form of government that, at least theoretically, contemplates its own demise with equanimity. Democratic elections do not guarantee that the victors will be democratically inclined, and it is always possible that those who gain control of the legislative process will pass laws that erode or even repeal the rights – of property, free expression and free movement – that distinguish democracies from theocracies and monarchies. (Some would say that this is exactly what has been happening in the past six years.) Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes captured the fragility of a form of government that can alter itself beyond the point of recognition when he said that if his fellow citizens want to go to hell in a handbasket, it was his job to help them, even if he deplored the consequences. Democracy, then, can be said to be its own biggest threat.

read the rest @ nytimes


At 4:45 PM , Blogger DAVE BONES said...

Sounds great. I like abstract art doco's. I also like the fact that you've got Jesus whacking Bush at the top of your blog and a pair of tits at the bottom.

I was going to try and link all this to something about "the thinking mans crumpet" but you'll have to do it yourself as I am no good at analogies.


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~There is no God and we are his prophets.~

-Cormac McCarthy-

Man is superior to the stars if he lives in the power of superior wisdom. Such a person being the master over heaven and earth by means of his will is a magus and magic is not sorcery but supreme wisdom



'The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them'.....'Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.'.....'In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.'.....'War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.' George Orwell

war is terror

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