Is there a Human Right to Democracy ?

Joshua Cohen

in The Egalitarian Conscience

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199281688
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603747 | DOI:
                   Is there a Human Right to Democracy                                         ?

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This essay answers ‘no’ to the question raised in its title. It affirms that democracy is a political order that produces all kinds of important benefits and that justice requires democracy. However, in contrast to G.A. Cohen’s insistence that facts not infect principles, it also calls for taking account of context, in this case at least: democracy is a demanding political ideal that would be inappropriate as an object of global responsibility. A society might fall short of being fully democratic without violating human rights. Moreover, if we insist that there is a human right to democracy, a strategy designed to elevate democracy by giving it some kind of universal status might in fact end up diluting its substance.

Keywords: democracy; human rights; justice

Chapter.  10372 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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