By John Dunn
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Additional info for Breaking Democracy's Spell
Whatever proves true in the future, even if democracy as a political category or a political value were somehow to be extirpated from every human community in centuries ahead, the political space within which that outcome could arise and the political agents who would bring it about would by now be quite largely creatures of democracy’s prior passage as a category. That is why we all now hold such a huge stake in understanding the provenance of the term in its current senses and taking in the dynamics and weight of the experience that has given it this grip upon us.
20 It was also the claim to authority that he advanced on that estate’s behalf. 21 In a temporary vacuum of authority, there could not readily be a wider appeal within a given space or for a given population (though the political balance would of course be affected by the numbers of those who claimed the privilege). The breadth of an appeal is no index of its credibility, its sheer power to induce belief. By that measure, democracy is not obviously more charismatic than any other political category.
In that guise, its presence or absence cannot be causally consequential. It must simply reﬂect, and transmit semantically, causalities that emanate from elsewhere. The drama of politics must be merely a shadow play, not a causal site. Alternatively, there can be and always are sentiments, perceptions, and beliefs (beliefs with existential content) shared among human groupings, but their scope and valency differ dramatically across space and time. Such groupings can and will share common goods and interests of varying density and centrality to their lives, just insofar as they share sentiments, perceptions, and beliefs.