Evangelists of Democracy

Radicals of the democracy-promotion movement embody the very thing they are fighting against—a closed-minded conviction that they represent the one true path for all societies and thus possess a monopoly on social, ethical and political truth.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2012

LIKE THE human-rights movement, democracy promotion is a radical project of social and political transformation whose adherents will not or cannot acknowledge either the ideological or the revolutionary character of their enterprise. In this, democracy promotion should be understood as a subset of contemporary liberalism—the only major modern ideology that denies it is an ideology at all. More precisely, it is the end state of human political organization after all the other ideologies have withered away, the future’s moral default position. To hear Western democracy-promotion activists tell it, when they work to “transition” states from a totalitarian or authoritarian social order to a liberal-democratic one, they are merely hastening the inevitable.

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