• Alastair Davidson


To support the major thesis of this book and how it is expounded in following chapters, that is, the triumph of national-popular systems of rights in core countries in the nineteenth century and their logical, political and ideological incompatibility with universal rights, this chapter focuses on Rousseau’s notion of democracy, which became the expression of politics after 1789. The chapter considers at length the notion that this great Swiss thinker developed, that the people is the best source of all justice and that its views – being basically in the common interest when expressed democratically – should be deferred to by any state. It is the notion that underpins the politics and theory of democratic states thereafter, and it necessarily subordinated universal rights – that is rights for all, including outsiders – to national majority wishes. Not until there is a world-wide democracy – a technical impossibility – can there be other than the trumping of individual rights by community interest. In the practical history that follows, this logical contradiction is shown to be true even in open democracies.


Social Contract Direct Democracy French Revolution National People Civil Religion 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alastair Davidson
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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