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Democracy, inevitable and otherwise

In On Democracy, an orderly primer on the history and elements of democratic practice, Robert A. Dahl helps challenge the fatalism or perhaps complacency implied by the large percentage of passive citizens in many western democracies. For one thing, the basic history is alarming:

Looking back on the rise and decline of democracy, it is clear that we cannot count on historical forces to ensure that democracy will always advance or even survive.

But armed with more knowledge, citizens might do better than pay admiring lip-service to their country’s vulnerable and imperfect institutions:

With adequate understanding of what democracy requires, and the will to meet its requirements, we can act to preserve, and what is more, to advance democratic ideas and practices.

But how? I will keep reading the book and see where these early quotations eventually lead.

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