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  • Liberty in Equality: Lord Acton’s Teaching on Participatory Democracy

    Author: Krzysztof Łazarski
    Institution: Lazarski University in Warsaw
    Year of publication: 2019
    Source: Show
    Pages: 7-21
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2019.63.01
    PDF: apsp/63/apsp6301.pdf

    The historian of liberty Lord Acton is not ordinarily viewed as a supporter of equality and democracy. There is a strong evidence, however, that his best practical regime is a participatory democracy, his constant philippics against equality and democracy notwithstanding. He always stressed that political power originates in the people and that mature liberty implies equality and universal franchise, even if in certain circumstances freedom can exist without them. Further, Acton is also the author of an original idea how to build participatory democracy without resorting to social engineering. He maintained that political freedom and citizenship begin with self-rule on a local level. If local communities create higher levels of authority, starting from a village and county and ending with the national government, we then deal with a grassroots democracy, in which citizens (not elites) run the country.

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