Jan-Boje Frauen


In the present article I display the ideological foundations of the current system of representative democracy and question the liberal core beliefs that it is per definitionem superior to other political systems and that material causation will lead to a world of liberal democracies (or to a liberal democratic world state) because of this. The argument is developed in three steps. First, the creative power of ideas and ideologies is displayed. Secondly, an analysis of the historical growth of the liberal democracy regime is employed. Lastly, internal contradictions and problems are extracted from the structure displayed. The paper ultimately derives three conclusions. First, the foundations of the liberal-democratic system are ideological and thus relative. There have been alternative forms of public participation in political decision-making processes. Secondly, the system is bound by its ideological roots to turn imperialist but will fail in contexts that do not share its historical development. Thirdly, the nearer future will see an increasing tension between the old elites of the system and forces for change driven by advances in ICT. Instead of the liberal world state, the liberal order might thus evolve internally into a new mode of knowledge production and rule administration based on mass participation rather than on the election of representatives.


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democracy, liberal order, political ideology, political theory, democracy discourse

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