A Workshop under the Auspices of the History of Political Thought Project,
University Center for Human Values, Princeton University
Provisional Schedule and Papers
How can liberal democracies defend themselves against their enemies without subverting their core normative principles? In the past decade this question has been debated mainly with reference to terrorist threats; however, there is an older tradition of reflection on democratic self-defense which emerged from interwar Europe and which primarily deals with those seeking to subvert democracy from within, rather than attack it from without. Given the resurgence of populist movements and parties in various parts of the globe, we wish to examine the historical, normative, and practical-political aspects of ‘militant democracy’, in particular the role of democratic self-defense in the transition to and consolidation of democracies. In light of the fact that the original conceptions of militant democracy also diagnosed the importance of ‘emotionalism’ in anti-democratic agitation, we will also carefully look at the psychological dimension of populism and militant democratic self-defence.