democracy, anarchism, news, propaganda, citizenship
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Breaking Free of Managed Democracy in the United States Sean Cunningham Sponsor: Eske Møllgaard, Philosophy
In the last four years I have had a number of opportunities to write about democracy in the United States and around the world. In this four year period there have been major democratic movements in North Africa, the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere. Whether or not these democratic growths can remain is an important political and philosophical question that needs addressing. So it is only fitting that I dedicate my Honors Project to collecting my previous work on democracy in my philosophy and political science classes into one paper.
In the first section of my paper I argue that the United States is not, and has never been, a democracy. It is a polyarchy which views the democratic aspirations of its people as nothing more than something in need of management, and whose approach to the rest of the world is purely strategic: if democracy supports its goals, it is to be reluctantly accepted but closely managed; and, if democracy does not support its goals, it is to be violently repressed.
The second part is a philosophical investigation into what democracy is. I conclude that a democracy is a community that reflects the will of the community as a whole; a group of politically active and equal, and personally autonomous people who engage in critical thought and reflection. Defining democracy allows me to then focus on three final questions: Why do people not embrace democracy? Is democracy the preferable political system? And, how could democracy be promoted in the United States?