What militant democrats and technocrats share

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Abstract

In their efforts to prevent democratic backsliding, militant democrats have traditionally been sympathetic to technocratic arrangements. Does this sympathy imply a logical congruence? Comparing theories of militant democracy and epistemic technocracy (aka epistocracy), I discover a common approach to basic aspects of representative democracy. Both theories see voters as fallible or ignorant instead of capable political agents; and they both understand political parties to be channels of state rule rather than democratic expression. This shared suspicion of grassroots political agency explains why they employ non-democratic means to pursue their goals. But the two theories appear to be also analytically co-extensive. Like militant democrats, epistemic technocrats polemicize antidemocrats inasmuch as the latter are proxies for epistemically foul decision-making. Conversely, militant democrats try to block ‘incorrect’ decisions as long as these lead to democratic subversion, thereby producing a distinct type of militant technocracy. The article ends by drawing the implications of this symbiosis of epistemic and militant democratic ideas for contemporary democratic theory.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Keywords

  • political theory, militant democracy, epistocracy, conception of voters, political parties
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP)
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Jun 16
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes