Totalitarian democracy
Totalitarian democracy is a term made famous by Israeli historian J. L. Talmon to refer to a system of government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 in which lawfully elected representatives
A legislator is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are usually politicians and are often elected by the people...

 maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation
Participation (decision making)
Participation in social science refers to different mechanisms for the public to express opinions - and ideally exert influence - regarding political, economic, management or other social decisions. Participatory decision making can take place along any realm of human social activity, including...

 in the decision-making process of the government. The phrase had previously been used by Bertrand de Jouvenel
Bertrand de Jouvenel
Bertrand de Jouvenel des Ursins, usually known only as Bertrand de Jouvenel was a French philosopher, political economist, and futurist.-Life:...

  and E.H. Carr, and subsequently by F. William Engdahl
F. William Engdahl
Frederick William Engdahl is an American German freelance journalist, historian and economic researcher.- Biography :Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Engdahl is the son of F. William Engdahl, Sr., and Ruth Aalund...

 and Sheldon S. Wolin

Criticism of Rousseau's ideas

Talmon's 1952
1953 in literature
The year 1953 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:* January 22 - The Crucible, a drama by Arthur Miller, opens on Broadway....

 book The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy discusses the transformation of a state in which tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

al values and articles of faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 shape the role of government into one in which social utility takes absolute precedence. His work is a criticism of the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

, a French philosopher whose ideas influenced the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. In The Social Contract
Social Contract (Rousseau)
Of The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is the book in which Rousseau theorized about the best way in which to set up a political community in the face of the problems of commercial society which he had already identified in his Discourse on Inequality...

, Rousseau contends that the interests of the individual and the state are one and the same, and it is the state's responsibility to implement the "general will
General will
The general will , made famous by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is a concept in political philosophy referring to the desire or interest of a people as a whole. As used by Rousseau, the "general will" is identical to the rule of law, and to Spinoza's mens una.The notion of the general will is wholly...


The political neologism "messianic democracy
Messianic democracy
Messianic democracy is a neologism originally used by Jacob Talmon is his book The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy to describe the "democracy by force" doctrines of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and its philosophical descendants, as an effective tyranny that demotes democratic principle to rhetorical...

" also derives from Talmon's introduction to this work:
Indeed, from the vantage point of the mid twentieth century the history of the last hundred and fifty years looks like a systematic preparation for the headlong collision between empirical and liberal democracy on the one hand, and totalitarian Messianic democracy on the other, in which the world crisis of to-day consists

In a similar vein, Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse was a German Jewish philosopher, sociologist and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory...

, in his 1964
1964 in literature
The year 1964 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*Jean-Paul Sartre becomes head of the Organization to Defend Iranian Political Prisoners....

 book One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a book written by philosopher Herbert Marcuse, first published in 1964....

, describes a society in which, in his words, "…liberty can be made into a powerful instrument of domination. … Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves..."

Differences in democratic philosophy

The philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 of totalitarian
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, according to Talmon, is based on a top-down view of society, which sees an absolute and perfect political truth to which all reasonable humans are driven. It is contended that not only is it beyond the individual to arrive at this truth independently, it is his duty and responsibility to aid his compatriots in realizing it. Moreover, any public or private activities that do not forward this goal have no useful purpose, sap time and energy from those that do, and must be eliminated. Thus economic and social endeavors, which tend to strengthen the collective, are seen as valuable, whereas education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, which tend to strengthen the individual, are seen as counterproductive. "You cannot be a citizen and a Christian at the same time," says Talmon, referring to Rousseau's arguments, "for the loyalties clash."

In his paper Advances in Chinese Social Sciences (2001), Mao Shoulong
Mao Shoulong
Mao Shoulong is a famous Chinese scholar of public administration, a professor at Renmin University of China.-Biography:...

, a professor of Public Policy
Public policy
Public policy as government action is generally the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and...

 at Renmin University of China
Renmin University of China
Renmin University of China; RUC, also known as People's University of China , colloquially Renda , is a major research university in Haidian District, Beijing, China. Its campus neighbors those of Peking University and Tsinghua University....

, takes a different position. He posits that totalitarian democracy, or what he terms "equality-oriented democracy," is founded on the idea that it is possible, and necessary, that the complete right
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...

s and freedoms of people ought not be held hostage to traditions and social arrangements. Shoulong recognizes that the term "totalitarian" has a connotation attached to it, used as it was by Giovanni Gentile
Giovanni Gentile
Giovanni Gentile was an Italian neo-Hegelian Idealist philosopher, a peer of Benedetto Croce. He described himself as 'the philosopher of Fascism', and ghostwrote A Doctrine of Fascism for Benito Mussolini. He also devised his own system of philosophy, Actual Idealism.- Life and thought :Giovanni...

 to apply to the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 government led by Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

. He sees the proponents of liberal democracy
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

 (or "Western" democracy) as holding a negative attitude to the word and believing that force is not an appropriate way to achieve a goal no matter the value of that goal. He prefers the term "freedom-oriented democracy" to describe such a political entity.

Fundamental requirements

A totalitarian democracy, says Talmon, accepts "exclusive territorial sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

" as its right. It retains full power of expropriation
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 and full power of imposition, i.e., the right of control over everything and everyone. Maintenance of such power, in the absence of full support of the citizenry, requires the forceful suppression of any dissent
Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or an entity...

ing element except what the government purposely permits or organizes. Liberal democrat
Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrat can refer to:* Liberal Democrats, a UK political party* Liberal Democrats , an Italian political party* Liberal Democratic Party , a Japanese political party* Liberal Democrats , a Sudanese political party...

s, who see political strength as growing from the bottom up (cf: "grass roots
Grass Roots
Grass Roots is an Australian television series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 2000 and 2003.The series is set around the fictional Arcadia Waters Council near Sydney, and was primarily a satirical look at the machinations of local government...

"), reject in principle the idea of coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

 in shaping political will, but the totalitarian democratic state holds it as an ongoing imperative
Imperative can mean:*Imperative mood, a grammatical mood expressing commands, direct requests, and prohibitions * A morphological item expressing commands, direct requests, and prohibitions...


A totalitarian democratic state is said to maximize its control over the lives of its citizens, using the dual rationale of general will (i.e., "public good") and majority rule
Majority rule
Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes. It is the binary decision rule used most often in influential decision-making bodies, including the legislatures of democratic nations...

. An argument can be made that in some circumstances it is actually the political
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, economic
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, and military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

 who interpret the general will to suit their own interests. Again, however, it is the imperative of achieving the overarching goal of a political nirvana
Nirvāṇa ; ) is a central concept in Indian religions. In sramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the Supreme being through moksha...

 that shapes the vision of the process, and the citizen is expected to contribute to the best of his abilities; the general is not asked to guide the plow, nor is the farmer asked to lead the troops.

It can approach the condition of totalitarianism; totalitarian states can also approach the condition of democracy, or at least majoritarianism
Majoritarianism is a traditional political philosophy or agenda which asserts that a majority of the population is entitled to a certain degree of primacy in society, and has the right to make decisions that affect the society...

. Citizens of a totalitarian democratic state, even when aware of their true powerlessness, may support their government. The Nazi
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 government that led Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 into World War II appears to have had the support of the majority of Germans, and this view holds that it was not until much later, after Germany's losses began to mount, that support for Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 began to fade. Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 was practically worshipped by hundreds of millions of Soviet citizens, many of whom have not changed their opinion even today, and his status ensured his economic and political reforms would be carried out.

Cold War and socio-economic illustrations

The period of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 following WWII saw great ideological
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

Polarization (politics)
In politics, polarization is the process by which the public opinion divides and goes to the extremes. It can also refer to when the extreme factions of a political party gain dominance in a party. In either case moderate voices often lose power and influence as a consequence.-Definitions of...

 between the so-called "Free World
Free World
The Free World is a Cold War-era term often used to describe states not under the rule of the Soviet Union, its Eastern European allies, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and other communist nations. The term often referred to states such as the United States, Canada, and Western European states such as the...

" and the Communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

s. Yet the irony was, and is, that both Eastern and Western governments were faced with the same barriers in achieving their objectives—the objections of their own citizens; questions do exist as to the comparative amount of violence inflicted by governments upon citizen "barriers" between the totalitarian East and the liberal-democratic West. In the East, religious and intellectual repression was met with increasing resistance, and the Hungarian revolt of 1956
1956 Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956....

 and Alexander Dubček
Alexander Dubcek
Alexander Dubček , also known as Dikita, was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia , famous for his attempt to reform the communist regime during the Prague Spring...

's Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

 in 1968 are two well-known acts of defiance where thousands were murdered in cold blood by their governments. In the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, the Tienanmen Square Massacre was a similar example of repressive violence leading to hundreds of deaths. In the United States, alleged Communists and Communist sympathizers were investigated by Senator Joseph McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957...

 in what later generations would recall as a "witch hunt"; many accused Communists were forced out of their jobs or their reputations were scandalized. Shortly after the time of Talmon's book, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 would bring active hostility between elements in the U.S. government and political factions within the American people. One faction insisted that the U.S. government did not represent them in levying war in Southeast Asia, protesting the war, as well as undemocratic or oligarchial power-structures within U.S. society; this faction occasionally saw repression from the government, such as through "dirty tricks
Dirty tricks
Dirty tricks are unethical, duplicitous, slanderous or illegal tactics employed to destroy or diminish the effectiveness of political or business opponents...

" aimed at "subversives" by the FBI in COINTELPRO
COINTELPRO was a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations.COINTELPRO tactics included discrediting targets through psychological...

 or hostility from other members of the American people who did support the U.S. government in that war. The conflict within U.S. society came to a peak at the protests and riots at the Democratic National Convention of 1968 in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, and in the Kent State Massacre, where 4 anti-war protesters were shot dead by U.S. National Guard forces in a violent confrontation.

One concept fundamental to both "liberal" and "totalitarian" democracy is that of liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

. According to Talmon, totalitarian democracy sees freedom as something achieved only in the long term, and only through collective effort; the political goal of ultimate order and ultimate harmony brings ultimate freedom. In addressing every aspect of the lives of its citizens, the totalitarian democratic state has the power to ensure that all material needs are met from cradle to grave, and all that is required of the citizen is to carry out his role, whatever it may be, to the best of his ability. Liberal democracy, on the other hand, posits freedom as something that can and should be achieved by the individual in the short term, even at the expense of things such as material well-being, and sees as an element of this freedom a "freedom from government" wherein the individual is able to exercise "freedom" in his own terms to the extent that they do not contravene the law. Proponents of both kinds of democracy argue that their particular approach is the best one for the citizens of their respective countries.

It is Mao Shoulong's contention that "equality-oriented democracy recognises the value of freedom but holds that [it] can't be attained by individual efforts," but rather, by collective efforts. He argues that while equality-oriented democracy stresses the value of equality over individual freedoms, the reverse is true for freedom-oriented democracy, and in each case, the state will move either to ensure equality by limiting individual freedom, or to ensure individual freedom by giving up equality. Some critics of this view may argue that equality and individual freedoms are inseparable, and that one cannot exist (or be sustained) without the other. The movement of gay men and lesbian women arguing for the right to marry in the United States is an example of a combined struggle for both equality (equal treatment under the law) and individual freedom (the right to contract relationships as one sees fit). Other critics argue that equality can only be ensured by continuous coercion, while ensuring individual freedom only requires force against coercive individuals and external states.

Shoulong also holds that a law is not valid if it does not have the approval of the public. Laws passed by the state do not require approval by the citizen on a case-by-case basis, and it can be easily argued that some laws currently in place in some countries purporting to be liberal democracies do not have the approval of the majority of citizens. For one, Rousseau argued in "The Social Contract", that in the stereotypical liberal democracy, individuals are politically "free" once every Parliamentary term, or every two to four years, when they vote for their representatives, in their General Election or on Election Day. Yet, Rousseau fails to consider that the state is not a total institution
Total institution
A total institution is place of work and residence where a great number of similarly situated people, cut off from the wider community for a considerable time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life...

 within the liberal democracies, and that the freedom of the citizen in between the elections is the freedom of the citizen to live their life in pursuit of their own happiness, subject to the law made by their elected representatives, who are, in turn, subject to popular pressure, public protest
A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations...

, petition, recall
Recall election
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended...

, referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

, initiative, and ultimately, electoral defeat if they fail to heed the views of those they represent. This is in contrast to a totalitarian democracy, with the state as a total institution, where the individual is truly not free without constant participation in their "democratic" government; and thus, the individual in the totalitarian democracy must be "forced to be free" if the totalitarian democracy is not to become a totalitarian oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...


Criticism of Talmon

Many historians, including Victor Gourevitch, have challenged the notion that Rousseau advocated totalitarian democracy. They maintain that such authoritarianism is incongruous with most if not all of his works, many of which are neither explicitly anti-religious nor conformist. It is seen to be an exercise in revisionism and contextonomy. Furthermore, it has been suggested that Talmon's emphases on tradition and religiosity are in themselves an anathema to progressive thought.

F. William Engdahl and Sheldon S. Wolin

Engdahl and Wolin add some new dimensions to the analysis of totalitarianism in formally democratic societies. In Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy and the New World Order, Engdahl focuses on the American drive to achieve global hegemony through military and economic means. According to him, U.S state objectives have led to internal conditions that resemble totalitarianism: "[it is] a power establishment that over the course of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 has spun out of control and now threatens not only the fundamental institutions of democracy, but even of life on the planet through the growing risk of nuclear war by miscalculation"

Wolin, too, analyzes the symbiosis of business and public interests that emerged in the Cold War to form the tendency of what he calls "inverted totalitarianism
Inverted totalitarianism
Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin to describe an "ideal type" government. Wolin uses the term to describe the government of the United States as it has evolved since World War II...


While exploiting the authority and resources of the state, [inverted totalitarianism] gains its dynamic by combining with other forms of power, such as evangelical religions, and most notably by encouraging a symbiotic relationship between traditional government and the system of "private" governance represented by the modern business corporation. The result is not a system of codetermination by equal partners who retain their respective identities but rather a system that represents the political coming-of-age of corporate power.

Elsewhere, in an article entitled "Inverted Totalitarianism" Wolin cites phenomena such as the lack of involvement of citizens in a narrow political framework (due to the influence of money), the privatization of social security, and massive increases in military spending and spending on surveillance as examples of the push away from public and towards private-controlled government. Corporate influence is explicit through the media, and implicit through the privatization of the university. Furthermore, many political think-tanks have abetted this process by spreading conservative ideology. Wolin states: "[With] the elements all in place...what is at stake, then, is nothing less than the attempted transformation of a tolerably free society into a variant of the extreme regimes of the past century"

Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher, critical theorist working in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. He has made contributions to political theory, film theory, and theoretical psychoanalysis....

 comes to similar conclusions in his book Welcome to the Desert of the Real
Welcome to the Desert of the Real
Welcome to the Desert of the Real is Slavoj Žižek's Marxist and Lacanian analysis of the ideological and political responses to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. These events have been of great interest both to mainstream media analysts and writers and to critical theorists, with several...

Here he argues that the war on terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 served as a justification for the suspension of civil liberties in the USA, while the promise of democracy and freedom was spread abroad as the justification for invading Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Since Western democracies are always justifying states of exception
State of exception
State of Exception may mean:* State of exception* State of Exception , a book written by Giorgio Agamben...

, they are failing as cites of political agency. Žižek advocates a move to a new kind of socialism.

See also

  • Guided democracy
    Guided Democracy
    Guided democracy, also called managed democracy, is a term for a democratic government with increased autocracy. Governments are legitimated by elections that, while free and fair, are used by the government to continue their same policies and goals...

  • List of democracy and elections-related topics
  • Inverted totalitarianism
    Inverted totalitarianism
    Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin to describe an "ideal type" government. Wolin uses the term to describe the government of the United States as it has evolved since World War II...

  • Bicameralism
    In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

  • Consensus
  • J. L. Talmon

External links

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