The totalitarian democracy of Stacey Abrams

“Democracy has failed in Georgia,” said Stacey Abrams in what hardly could be called a concession speech after a ballot recount confirmed that the Republican candidate, Brian Kemp, had defeated her in Georgia’s gubernatorial contest. Of course, democracy did not fail in Georgia. The voters made their voices heard at the ballot box, and Ms. Abrams did not like what she heard. The late Israeli historian J. L. Talmon called such behavior “totalitarian democracy” or “messianic democracy,” which found its origins in the French Revolution when the extremists arrogated to themselves the unfettered right to interpret the will of the people. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about this when he observed that those who made the French Revolution always spoke in the name of the people, without in the least having bothered to consult them. Talmon’s theme was that in totalitarian democracy there exists a general will, an abstraction that is known...(Read Full Post)
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