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April 27 , 2008

A Theory of Militant Democracy

The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism


How should pro-democratic forces safeguard representative government from anti-democratic forces? By granting rights of participation to groups that do not share democratic values, democracies may endanger the very rights they have granted; but denying these rights may also undermine democratic values. Alexander Kirshner offers a set of principles for determining when one may reasonably refuse rights of participation, and he defends this theory through real-world examples, ranging from the far-right British Nationalist Party to Turkey’s Islamist Welfare Party to America’s Democratic Party during Reconstruction.

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