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How did France come to look like a consolidated democracy and why the fifth republic has been a relatively stable period in French history - Essay Example

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As expressions of primordial human aspirations, freedom and order are the key components of the equation of politics. Beginning with Plato, political thought and the philosophy of law have generally treated them as antithetical, because both concepts proceed from mutually exclusive systems of value…
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How did France come to look like a consolidated democracy and why the fifth republic has been a relatively stable period in French history
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Extract of sample "How did France come to look like a consolidated democracy and why the fifth republic has been a relatively stable period in French history"

Download file to see previous pages This partly explains why democracies, unless the freedom on which they are founded is violated, are assumed to be poorly equipped to deal with threats to their security. This antinomy currently appears to be more pronounced as both terms of the alternative have been assuming new configurations.
In terms of security, two opposing trends are at work. There is on the one hand an overall sense of irenization of modern polities' internal and external order that is encapsulated in the image of the neo-Saint-Simonean "consensual/warless society," and the parent neo-Hegelian view of "'the end of history." At the domestic level, their sociopolitical foundations are no longer questioned, and conflicts over the management of the state are settled through electoral alternatives. At the external level, appeasement induced by nuclear deterrence and continued with the progress of disarmament policies was enhanced by the collapse of the communist system, which represented enmity for the West. On the other hand, a new and more ambivalent threat pattern emerged that increases the ubiquity of order and security issues. Within societies, deepening center-periphery tensions and sociological cleavages lead to the displacement of traditional civility by more frictional relationships. From without, menaces become more insidious, discontinuous, and multifocal, and less predictable and identifiable than before the end of bipolarity, extending on the low-intensity side of the violence spectrum and assuming unconventional aspects. Concomitantly, old-fashioned institutions and instruments of violence management, doctrines, and protocols ruling their employment, and their articulations with the state appearing less suitable and effective, call for other less orthodox means based on preemption, swiftness, and secrecy, which are generally at variance with the democratic process.
The concept of democracy has been evolving also. Karl Mannheim, T. H. Marshall, and more recently Edward Shils have described its logic in advanced polities. First, rights have been extended and their nature modified to encompass almost every aspect of the individual's life. Formerly limited to civic and political contents, they became economic and social, and finally sociological and cultural so as to include security. Second, the beneficiaries of these rights, once very few, have been extended to include the farthest peripheries of the social system (even beyond, in that advocates of the so-called "natural contract" or "deep ecology" also include animals and the environment). Thus, those who until recently would not have been judged as legitimate recipients of such rights, either because they were unable to enjoy them--e.g., the child, those mentally impaired, or immigrants, or those legally deprived such as delinquents--are now considered full members of the polity. Democratic rights, in other words, are seen as belonging to everyone, partisans as well as adversaries of democracy. Saint-Just's famous utterance, "no freedom for the enemy of freedom," would not be applicable today. Democracy has become a holistic concept, no longer defined in a discrete manner, be it in terms of the rights composing it or in terms of its titulars.
The dilemma, then, is obvious. The rightful exigency for order and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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