By Alexander S. Kirshner
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Additional resources for A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism
As will become clear, acknowledging antidemocrats’ interests in participation fundamentally shapes answers to questions about when and how the militant defense of democracy should be undertaken. The Principle of Limited Intervention When should democrats go militant? Throughout this book I will evaluate many arguments about the need for the state to curtail political participation, and I will advance a few such arguments myself. In this section I will defend a prima facie claim that builds on the participatory principle: individuals do not have the right to unjustifiably keep others from advancing their most basic interests.
It is the avoidance of that suffering that would lead reasonable members of the community to embrace this right. To understand the effect of laws and activities that restrict participation, we need a better grip on the interests at stake. I divide the basic interests that ground the right into two categories—active and passive. By active interests I mean the ways in which individuals suffer if they fail to participate effectively in the political process, whether that failure is voluntary or not.
By background institutions I refer to the intricate regulatory structures—ranging from rules about how parties are funded to rules about who can be a candidate for political office—that give shape and form to every representative regime. Eschewing neutrality, democrats should tilt the democratic playing field toward democracy. Second, I argue that democrats will have greater success crafting normatively attractive militant policies if they carefully consider who the appropriate subjects of defensive action are.
A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism by Alexander S. Kirshner