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Anti-PluralismThe Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy$
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William A. Galston

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300228922

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300228922.001.0001

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The Incompleteness of Liberal Democracy

The Incompleteness of Liberal Democracy

Chapter:
(p.126) Eight The Incompleteness of Liberal Democracy
Source:
Anti-Pluralism
Author(s):

William A. Galston

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300228922.003.0009

This chapter argues that liberal democracy presupposes, and to some extent nurtures, a distinctive outlook and political psychology. Many of its requirements are demanding and need a measure of self-restraint. This is a permanent source of vulnerability. Citizens often crave more unity and solidarity than liberal life typically offers, and community can be a satisfying alternative to the burdens of individual responsibility. Preferring those who are most like us goes with the grain of our sentiments more than does a wider, more abstract concept of equal citizenship or humanity. So does the tendency to impute good motives to our friends and malign intent to our foes. Antipathy has its satisfactions, and conflict, like love, can make us feel more fully alive. Populism's embrace of tribalism, its Manichean outlook, and the constant conflict it entails all draw strength from the enduring incompleteness of life in liberal societies.

Keywords:   liberal democracy, populism, pluralism, anti-pluralism, liberal societies, freedom, equality, tribalism

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