By Alexander S. Kirshner
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Extra resources for A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism
Because I have assumed that reasonable disagreement does not extend to the legitimacy of a broadly defined set of democratic procedures, those procedures can be employed as a legitimate means for making decisions about which there is widespread good-faith disagreement. This justification of democracy treats the practice of selfgovernment as an intrinsic element of a just society. By intrinsic I mean that the motivating conception of justice cannot feasibly be achieved without democratic institutions and that shifts away from democratic practice will, in general, reduce a regime’s legitimacy.
Because they earn their living raising crops, they probably also believe that it would be in the best interests of the political community if the state increased its support for the production of corn-based food and energy products. There is nothing especially illegitimate about farmers’ pursuing government subsidies for agricultural production. Showing that individuals have no defensible interest in undermining representative institutions does not demonstrate that antidemocrats have no legitimate projects that might be advanced in the democratic process.
Do Nazis have a right to participate? 34 I will challenge this claim later in this chapter, but for the sake of argument, let us assume that it holds. If we accept the assumption, we might indeed conclude that Nazis lack political rights. Why is that? In our collective imaginations, Nazis are ascetics, individuals whose lives are focused on one goal: the destruction of legitimate institutions and just societies. And if antidemocrats’ sole political priority is antidemocratic revolution, then it stands to reason that they have no legitimate interests in the political process.
A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism by Alexander S. Kirshner