Sustaining Democracy

By Robert B. Talisse,

Book cover of Sustaining Democracy: What We Owe to the Other Side

Book description

Democracy is not easy. Citizens who disagree sharply about politics must nonetheless work together as equal partners in the enterprise of collective self-government. Ideally, this work would be conducted under conditions of mutual civility, with opposed citizens nonetheless recognizing one another's standing as political equals. But when the political stakes…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Sustaining Democracy as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Talisse does a great job putting our divides in the context of the fundamental problem of democracy.

How can we maintain democratic principles when we see the "other side" as very wrong, or even as dangerous? Should we maintain those principles? What do we owe our fellow citizens even when we see them as very flawed?  

In addition to these hard and important questions, Talisse focuses on a less examined negative aspect of polarization: us-vs-them animosity makes us less able to get along even with people who are politically similar to us. We become more fractured even on "our side,"…

I just love how Sustaining Democracy breaks down the problem of polarization in a jargon-free way.

Robert Talisse brings the reader on a mind-expanding philosophical journey, showing why it undermines democracy when we see political opponents as not just misled but as "bad people." At the same time, he isn't so naive to believe that we can drop our disputes and sing kumbaya. 

I appreciate that Talisse recognizes that our disagreements are here to stay. But, if we try to treat each other as political equals, we can not only reduce the pathologies of polarization but also make it easier…

From Taylor's list on healing America’s dying democracy.

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