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SAAP Annual Meeting

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The Dangers of Democracy as a Second Reality

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Myron Jackson
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
United States

It is quite common today to limit the auspices of freedom only to democratic values and norms without recognizing the ways it is made manifest through non-democratic forms, such as in the recent Middle East uprisings. This paper argues that we should work toward resisting this trend through an intense engagement with a plurality of cultures, rooted in openness and a critically reflective freedom. I contend that American Exceptionalism promotes a mythic consciousness of open selfhood and that we undermine our best purposes by identifying ourselves exclusively as democratic or capitalist selves. Relying on Thomas Alexander’s philosophical anthropology, along with Josiah Royce’s triadic community and cultural interpretation and Eric Voegelin’s critique of second realities, it is suggested that we should not derail freedom by accepting democracy as a global hegemonic initiative.


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