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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > February 2017 > Don’t take democracy for granted

Don’t take democracy for granted

A frail old lady walks into a church hall, marks a cross on a bit of paper, and a government falls. That is democracy’s promise— and, when you stop and think about it, what an improbable promise it seems. The ballot box has only ever been able to rule because it has been buttressed by all manner of supports: social, institutional, even ideological. As Barack Obama put it in his farewell address, the US constitution promises self-government, but it is “just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power.”

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s February issue: Tom Clark and Luke Harding examine the attacks facing democracy. Clark reviews two books on democracy and suggests a new intellectual assault may be on the horizon. Harding looks at Russia’s attempts to derail the democratic process by focussing on its technical frailty. Melissa Deckman asks why women voted for Trump, while Duncan Bell charts the story of the Anglosphere and suggests Brexiteers are indulging in an old fantasy. Also in this issue: Matthew Harries asks if it’s time to ban the nuclear bomb, Adam Mars-Jones looks at the way we perceive aliens in films and Elizabeth Pisani explores the role of activists in changing the perception of Aids and its pushing for treatment.
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