Author: Danuta Plecka
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland)
Year of publication: 2013
Source: Show
Pages: 70-90
DOI Address:
PDF: ppsy/42/ppsy2013006.pdf

In popular consciousness, the dispute between the communitarians and the liberals focuses on citizens’ individualism and the role and place of the community in contemporary society. However, it is merely a simpli-fied vision of the topic of discussion between supporters of the currents of political thought indicated above. Indeed, a no less essential part of the debate concerns problems associated with the interpretation of the idea and the principles of democracy, their uses and importance in human life. The canon of fundamental values of democratic government includes freedom and equality. These principles are inherently conducive to the emergence of conflicts, as illustrated by the classic dilemma „the more freedom, the less equality, and the more equality, the less freedom.“ This particular problem has determined the emergence of two major theories of democracy: individualistic and collectivist. The main difference between these approaches to democracy concerns the view of the relationship between the state and society, and between the state and it‘s citizens. And thus, the individualistic current (procedural) derived from the traditions of the English Revolution aims to reduce the area of activity and competence of the government to the minimum specified explicitly in the rules of law. Consequently, both Society and citizens are free from the state, the latter becoming only the guardian of the laws.


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