Pols 241 week 9 lecture 1 Nov. 5
Howard wiarda’s book
o An activist book
o Ethno-centric and American centric
Argues that there are many definitions and philosophical foundations for
Maybe we need a broader term instead of democracy?
Need participatory modes of government that can take many forms
Democracy has become trending, its now enjoying some ideological hegemony
Has no competition
Been reified to a certain extent ( it is assumed to be natural- seen by
many as the natural social outcome of human evolution)
Has been considered our greatest achievement
o Therefore it makes it easy to think that there is an ideal
Different countries have claimed that there democracy
is the best.
This is dangerous because it obscures the fact that
every democracy has its stereotypes and weaknesses.
A healthier way of looking at this is that every
democracy has room for improvement.
People believe democracy is the key to
Where does democracy come from?
Emeshed in the cultural fabric of the west since ancient Greece
o But for most of western history organic forms are the norm.
(monarchy, feudal system, aristocracy)
o Has some marginal and small example (ex. Iceland but it wasn’t
In Europe liberal democracy was adopted in the 18 -19 century.
o Before that they were monarchies
Wiarda’s idea is problematic
Because there is more evidence that the
Iroquois confederacy was more influential than
Europe on American democracy.
Thus maybe our democracy come more from
the first nations. Democracy was adopted as a response to a certain necessity
2 myth: Democracy was adopted easily in the west
o Put down violently…
o American civil war=consequences of democratic patterns that
did not quite work…
o The troubles that countries are enduring by trying to put it into
o However democracy became the norm extremely quickly= its
This part of the problem as it is only 100 years old and
yet it feels like forever
It is not hard to learn, it’s the easiest game in town.
The problem is giving people the opportunity for
How does England adopt Democracy?
Question of necessity
o Happens in 1982
Christopher Columbus discovers the new world
England, France,….realize they could make a lot of
money by doing something new.