THE DEMOCRATIC CIVILIZATION by Leslie Lipson

THE DEMOCRATIC CIVILIZATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lipson's investigation of the democratic political process is acutely logical, unbiased in its search and free of pious phrases. He studies the democratic state as a fusion of its social context, the politics and institutional framework, an philosophical ideals. He first traces the background and evolution of democratic ideals, then looks at the way the social order develops or hinders these ideals; studies the role of the people in politics and government; then returns to a discussion of philosophical values. At the core of his discussion the question arises whether liberty is essentially more important than order, or ""should the tolerant tolerate the intolerant?"" He is dis-satisfied with Justice Holme's formula that ""the state may act to forestall a clear and present danger"". Should a state tolerate heresy but not conspiracy? His answer is that no one has a right to win; a right to win indicates inequality. One has only the right to seek, as in a residential race after which the loser retains his equality. Lipson ends with positive and negative evaluations of democracy, saying that though the people err periodically, free criticism or error is the civilizing process.

Publisher: Oxford