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Democracy Paradox

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Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

Location:

United States

Description:

Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

Twitter:

@DemParadox

Language:

English


Episodes

Scott Mainwaring on Argentina and a Final Reflection on Democracy in Hard Places

7/12/2022
I think they're really important. But I don't think that they are a complete safeguard. Certainly, when you create democracies in hard places, you want to think very carefully about what institutions you want in place and how you strengthen them. But if you get illiberal governing parties in democracies in hard places, they can run over institutions. Scott Mainwaring Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. Scott Mainwaring is the...

Duration:00:43:03

Lucan Way on Ukraine. Democracy in Hard Places

7/5/2022
The war is never going to really end. Because even in the most optimistic scenario where Ukraine regains its territory and it goes back to the 1991 borders, Russia is almost certainly going to present a permanent threat to Ukrainian sovereignty. I think objectively it will. But even if objectively it wasn’t, after such an invasion, you can imagine the political environment's going to treat it as one. Lucan Way Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates...

Duration:00:40:14

Michael Coppedge on Why Democracies Emerge, Why They Decline, and Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)

6/28/2022
Democracy is a complex concept. It has to do with elections. It has to do with legislatures. It has to do with civil society organizations and courts and political styles of politicians. There's a lot packed into the concept and it's multidimensional, because some of these components don't move together. Michael Coppedge Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. Michael Coppedge is a Professor of Political Science at the University of...

Duration:00:34:44

Rachel Beatty Riedl on Benin. Democracy in Hard Places.

6/21/2022
So, at some level, a belief in democracy was necessary in Benin as in elsewhere. Support for it - Absolutely. But what's interesting in the Benin case is that you were lacking that level of political elite leadership that were committed democratic ideologues. Rachel Beatty Riedl Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Rachel Beatty Riedl is the John S. Knight Professor of...

Duration:00:46:04

Ashutosh Varshney on India. Democracy in Hard Places

6/14/2022
Nehru is asked several times in those early years, ‘Aren’t you doing something which has never been done before? You are 17% literate. Half of your country is below the poverty line. Under such conditions no democracy has ever stabilize itself and perhaps has not emerged.’ And his argument repeatedly is that we shouldn't be constrained by the history of the West. Ashutosh Varshney Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. A full...

Duration:00:53:30

Evan Lieberman on South Africa. Democracy in Hard Places

6/7/2022
When you hear people talk in such disparaging tones, that everything is broken, that nothing is possible, you need to ask yourself, is that right? When you look around, the answer is no. There are these examples where things do go right, where people work together and create a neighborhood or a community for themselves in which they can be prosperous and build better lives. And that's really what the democratic project is all about. Evan Lieberman Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for...

Duration:00:47:51

Dan Slater on Indonesia. Democracy in Hard Places

5/31/2022
This might sound like a cliche, but in Indonesia it's really, really true. My hope rests in the Indonesian people and the voters. I mean, the voters, they show up. The voters have been the ones to defend democracy. They've been the ones to reject the most anti-pluralistic candidates, not all Indonesian voters, but a slim majority. They've been managing to do it. Dan Slater Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. A full transcript is...

Duration:00:50:01

Kathryn Stoner on How Putin's War has Ruined Russia

5/24/2022
Boeing is pulling out, DuPont, Erickson, Analog Devices, Bombardier. Eventually all of these things are going to cause supply and production chain issues and unemployment in Russia. So, Mr. Putin doesn't have an infinite amount of time before havoc is wrought. Kathryn Stoner Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Kathryn Stoner is the Mosbacher Director at the Center on...

Duration:00:39:37

Scott Radnitz on Why Conspiracy Theories Thrive in Both Democracies and Autocracies

5/17/2022
There's something natural and organic about perceiving that the people in power are out to advance their own interests. It's in part because it’s often true. Governments actually do keep secrets from the public. Politicians engage in scandals. There often is corruption at high levels. So, we don't want citizens in a democracy to be too trusting of their politicians. It's healthy to be skeptical of the state and its real abuses and tendencies towards secrecy. The danger is when this distrust...

Duration:00:50:20

Dan Banik is In Pursuit of Development

5/13/2022
This bonus episode is part of a series of interviews available for monthly supporters of Democracy Paradox at Patreon. Other interviews feature guests like Julia Azari, Mila Atmos, and Bob Shrum. But more importantly you'll help the podcast cover important expenses and continue to grow. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter by clicking on the link here. If you want to help the podcast in other ways, please email the host, Justin Kempf, at jkempf@democracyparadox.com. Dan Banik is a...

Duration:00:35:56

Ronald Deibert from Citizen Lab on Cyber Surveillance, Digital Subversion, and Transnational Repression

5/10/2022
So, if your aim is to get inside someone's device without their permission and gather up information, you could do that using a very sophisticated commercial spyware technology like Pegasus. The latest iteration of it employs zero click technology meaning that it can target and insert itself on any device without the owner of that device even knowing or being tricked into clicking on a link. That's very powerful, because there is no defense against it. Ronald Deibert A full transcript is...

Duration:00:50:43

Thomas Piketty on Equality

5/3/2022
Pure economic factors or technological factors or the level of economic development or level of technological development cannot explain the diversity of levels of inequality and structure of inequality that we observe throughout history. Thomas Piketty A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Thomas Piketty is Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Paris School of Economics and Codirector of the World Inequality Lab. He is also...

Duration:00:30:15

Marta Dyczok and Andriy Kulykov on the Media, Information Warriors, and the Future of Ukraine

4/26/2022
I heard a verified story of a person who made his way with his family from an occupied town listening to our broadcast, because we were telling them where it was dangerous for them to go and where it was more or less safe to go. So, radio actually saves lives. I probably cannot save lives otherwise. But I can with the help of radio. Andriy Kulykov Recorded on April 19th, 2022. A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Marta Dyczok is an Associate Professor at the...

Duration:00:53:02

Yascha Mounk on the Great Experiment of Diverse Democracies

4/19/2022
So, there's actually something about the basic mechanism of democracy that does make it harder to sustain diversity. In other ways, the principles of liberal democracy are the right solution. And so, obviously my vision for the future is that of a diverse democracy. But we shouldn't be at ease about the ways in which democracy can sometimes inflame ethnic and religious tensions as well. Yascha Mounk A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Yascha Mounk is a Professor of...

Duration:00:50:08

Mark Beissinger on Contemporary Urban Civic Revolutions

4/12/2022
I think the revolutionary process has become somewhat less consequential in some ways. The ability to bring about substantive change in the wake of revolution has deteriorated for one thing. We've gained certain things as well. I mean, revolutions are no longer as violent as they once were. They're more frequent than they once were, almost more normal in terms of being part of the political landscape in a way that they were not in the past. Mark Beissinger A full transcript is available at...

Duration:00:49:24

Craig Whitlock on the Lessons Learned in Afghanistan

4/5/2022
It's still shocking to me to read a lot of these documents and interviews in, The Afghanistan Papers, things that most people would think are obvious. What's the plan to end the war? What benchmarks do we have to achieve so that we know we can leave? You know, none of those things were thought out or articulated. Craig Whitlock A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Craig Whitlock is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post and the author of The Afghanistan...

Duration:00:58:13

Miles Rapoport on How We Can Achieve Universal Voting

3/29/2022
I have worked on voting issues for 35 years, for same-day registration and for opening up the process to younger people and preregistration, and, you know, nevertheless 35 years later we're still at 60 and 65%. 2020 was the highest turnout election ever and it was at 66%. So, I started to think what is it that could really, really move the needle and change the game. Miles Rapoport A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of 100% Democracy: The Case for...

Duration:00:45:48

Between Russia and China: Anja Mihr on Central Asia

3/22/2022
Russia... will lose ground here in the region over the next decade and China will fill it, because the Europeans are not doing it. The United States is not doing it. Iran is not doing it and Turkey cannot do it either. Anja Mihr A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of Between Peace and Conflict in the East and the West Studies on Transformation and Development in the OSCE Region here. Anja Mihr is an associate professor of Political Science at the...

Duration:00:52:02

Moisés Naím on the New Dynamics of Political Power

3/15/2022
But what we have now is something that has not been sufficiently discussed, sufficiently understood, which is a criminalized state of which Russia is an example, in the Balkans we have some examples, in Latin America Venezuela stands out as an example. And that is essentially that the state becomes an organized criminal organization. An organization that essentially uses the structure, strategies, tactics, modalities of organized crime. Moisés Naím A full transcript is available at...

Duration:00:36:34

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili and Ilia Murtazashvili on Afghanistan, Local Institutions, and Self-Governance

3/8/2022
It wasn't because Afghan social norms don’t support democracy. They do. And Afghans understood darn well what they were supposed to have. But they never even got the minimum of what they were promised in the constitution. Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com or a short review of Land, the State, and War: Property Institutions and Political Order in Afghanistan here. Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili and Ilia Murtazashvili are associate...

Duration:00:47:41