Democracy Paradox

Democracy Paradox

The Democracy Paradox explores the diverse range of perspectives and insights about democracy through an interview format. Every week new scholars are invited to share their breakthrough research or bold ideas about politics, economics, and society. Most interviews are stand alone episodes, but some are tied together like the three episode arc "Resistance, Revolution, Democracy" which explored the concept of civil resistance and revolution to produce democracies. These three interviews featured Erica Chenoweth, George Lawson, and Johnathan Pinckney. Listeners can also visit www.democracyparadox.com to read weekly reviews on classic works of politics, international relations, and philosophy. Democracy is a complex and nuanced concept. It challenges our preconceptions. Take the time to explore the Democracy Paradox.

Episodes

July 20, 2021 45 min

This was not a phenomenon to one specific region. This was nothing that got invented in one place and at one time. It seems to have emerged independently in a wide, wide variety of human societies at different points in time. And to me, that sounds like something that occurs naturally.

David Stasavage

A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

David Stasavage is the Dean of Social Sciences and a Professor of Politics ...

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The police is even acting directly against the minorities and the Delhi riots of 2020 showed that the police could be on their side in the street in their rioting activities. This is exactly the same in other BGP ruled states like Uttar Pradesh. Now you have indeed a kind of new shift, if you want. It's not only with the blessing of the state. It’s also with the active participation of the state.

Christophe Jaffrelot

A full trans...

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It really matters how you set up conflict and how you talk about the issue and above all how you talk about your adversary. That's where I see the decisive difference between those who tend to invoke the people, the common good and et cetera, in a way that is compatible with democracy and then those who talk in a way that, ultimately, is bound to be dangerous for democracy.

Jan-Werner Müller

A full transcript is available at www....

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They wanted the full array of rights. Political rights, yes, they were active in the suffrage movement, but they also wanted economic rights and social rights. They wanted to lessen inequalities. They also wanted the rights of mothers and of children advanced.

Dorothy Sue Cobble

A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

Dorothy Sue Cobble is the Distinguished Professor of History and Labor Studies Emerita at Rutgers ...

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Democracy is about more than elections. Election day is very important, but what is happening in the country every other day is an integral part to what a democracy is and if you think about the fundamental freedoms that we think of in our own democracy: free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association and assembly, also things like the independence of the judiciary, these are all things that are on the civil liberties side...

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So many cases of democratization start with these episodes and this period of elite political violence where the initial stages of it have nothing to do with democratization. People are not aiming for that. People are barely even thinking about it. It's all about this elite political struggle and out of that chaos a bit later you get democracy.

Michael Miller

A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

Michael Mill...

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The idea of a political system is not simply to be efficient. It's to have justice. It's to have the idea that anybody can come to the seat of power and say, 'Here are my grievances,' and that doesn't mean that by making that claim, they will get exactly what they want. But it does mean that they will get a hearing and in that notion, I think, lies again, a certain part of democracy that is not reduceable just t...

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The experience of Western colonization has imprinted all of these nations in profound ways and it's tended to inculcate a sort of skepticism about Western invocations of democracy and the rule of law. China, of course, shares a similar skepticism. China was also not formerly colonized, or not fully colonized by Western powers, but it experienced what the Chinese communist party likes to term a century of humiliation.  And so, b...

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Racism and racial conflict are always there, always a powerful and important part of American politics. But when they combine with polarization, with this kind of partisan antagonism, and when that becomes the dividing line between the parties, that's really dangerous. That's what happened in the 1850s. It led to civil war. That's what happened in the 1890s. It led to violent conflict and mass disenfranchisement. And it...

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In the 19th century Europe had thought that they had moved towards liberalism, enlightenment, rationality, progress, that stuff like mass warfare was over and it wouldn't come back. And then you have four years of senseless, mass slaughter, they just totally destroyed or challenged those ideas of humankind getting better off, progress of humankind getting more civilized. In retrospect, it's hard to imagine the coincidence o...

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They really view their history as one of victimization, one of struggle and even martyrdom. ARENA had multiple leaders assassinated. Again, that version of history that I just told you, that's not necessarily my view. But I do actually believe that that is their sincere belief and it makes for a really compelling founding myth if you will. And I think that founding myth has helped to hold both parties together right up until th...

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I find it hard to believe, without a lot more justification than they're offering that somehow that there's this new secret sauce to opportunity and equality and democracy that does not involve public education as the fundamental pillar. So you have people arguing that it's not. They're not saying we want to destroy democracy, but I'm saying, you as reader, you as listeners, need to think about the long-term con...

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That's why all Americans should care. Because the cost of poverty is not just the cost to that person who is in poverty. It's a cost to all of society. We're all paying for people being jailed. We're all paying for extra costs in the legal system, in the police force, in the healthcare system.

Sheryl WuDunn

A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

Key Highlights Include

  • Stories of Poverty and Inequali...
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    Doctrine is actually often a lot looser and more subject to interpretation than we tend to assume and the way that the doctrine gets interpreted is often partially a function of group interests themselves. If you have a religious group in a given country that believes it would benefit from democracy, it's pretty likely that that group will find a way to interpret and frame its doctrine in a way that supports democracy.

    - Mike Ho...

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    Participatory budgeting is actually about connecting folks with the skills and resources to navigate and shape government. And so, for me, that is the most optimistic and the most important outcome of any participatory budgeting process.

    Shari Davis

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Key Highlights Include

  • A walk through the process of participatory budgeting with an example
  • The history of participatory budgetin...
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    That tension between the politics of the whole and the politics of the part, that tension between the politics of generality and the politics of particularity, is really at the heart of party democracy. What we are sort of trying to capture, I suppose, with technopopulism is to think of a form of politics where that tension has simply gone.

    Chris Bickerton

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Key Highlights Incl...

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    The legislature is one of several examples of our history of being independent which is why I think it was such an important story to tell of Nebraska becoming like baptized into Republican orthodoxy. Because seeing that shift. That it wasn't always that way. We founded Arbor day in this state, we settle a lot of refugees per capita, we increased minimum wage, and Medicaid through ballot measures recently. We do stuff like that...

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    They had an obligation to take the knowledge that they were developing, to take their expertise and put it in the service of the community as a whole and the service of its elected leaders.

    Chad Alan Goldberg

    A Fulll Transcript is Available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    At the turn of the twentieth century, Wisconsin was at the forefront of the Progressive Movement. Wisconsin adopted the first modern state income tax. It initiated the ...

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    The focus on the individual people involved in this moment and their preexisting relationships for me is a new way of thinking about democratic transitions. Because I think we see how much these personal relationships and personal histories matter for whether or not they can make these really big, important decisions at a moment of very high stress, very little information.

    Elizabeth Nugent

    A full transcript is available at www.democ...

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    Like so many things we're coming to grips with now in the 21st century, we're realizing that the 20th century was the anomaly. We feel like what was happening in the first 20 years of the 21st century that that was the anomaly. But it's not. The 20th century was the anomaly. And there's a temptation among policymakers to say, ‘But this is how it's always been.’ No. Wrong.

    Ryan Salzman

    A full transcript is availabl...

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