Democracy field notes

Democracy field notes

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The President of Humility

José ‘Pepe’ Mujica may not be a household name beyond the pampas and ocean shores of Uruguay, but his thoughts on power, politics and sobriety, captured in the remarkable video that follows, surely are…

Trump, Trump, Trump…

During recent weeks, as election fever grows more intense, all American democrats have been handed a bouquet of viperous questions: When does public incitement to violence by a candidate for high office…

Are Elections Ruining Democracy?

The Flemish historian and writer David Van Reybrouck has recently triggered a minor sensation in the Low Countries by insisting that Western democracies are suffering so much election fatigue (electoral…

The Arbitrary Detention of Julian Assange

The following field note is a short account of last Friday’s historic ruling by a top United Nations panel that Julian Assange is arbitrarily detained and should be set free, with compensation. It also…

War comes home

The Paris attacks were a ghastly media spectacular. What will be the broader historical significance in Europe and further afield?

God, the gods and democracy [part three]

The widespread belief that religion is plainly bad for democracy is misleading, or so the following dialogue on religion tries to illustrate, with reasons and examples. Conducted in Melbourne by the distinguished…