Paul Lucardie: Democratic Extremism

Paul Lucardie sent the following excerpts from his new book ‘Democratic Extremism in Theory and Practice. All power to the people’ (London: Routledge, 2014).


Author’s comment: Democratic extremism may appear to be an oxymoron, as ‘democracy’ is usually associated with moderation, pluralism and tolerance. Yet one could also regard democratic extremism as the opposite of autocratic and aristocratic extremism: whereas the latter imply that all decisions are taken by a dictator, a class of landowners or perhaps (in a more modern variety) the Central Committee of a ruling Communist Party, the former means that all decisions are taken by the people and that a political elite does not play any significant role. Examples of extreme democracy are rare, as far as I could find out. More common are cases of what I would call radical democracy: not all decisions but most important decisions are taken by the people, some are left to a political elite. Even more common, however, are mixed regimes where most decisions are taken by an elected aristocracy (professional politicians) and some by the people. In fact most so-called representative democracies are, in my opinion, mixed regimes, if not elective aristocracies.
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