Democracy and the liberal state
This dissertation concerns the inter-relationship between
liberal theory and the political culture and practices of liberal
societies. It seeks to show that liberal principles are inadequate
as a basis tor social identity and political integration. Thus
aspects of other cultures have,been added to liberal culture to make
liberal society more cohesive. However, following the arguments of
Bell and Habermas it is possible to demonstrate a process where the
tunctionally necessary elements of traditional culture are destroyed
by developments in capitalist evolution. This is highly significant
politically because the state's attempts to ward off an economic
crisis is central in the process of the destruction of tradition.
In turn the greatest danger to the state is an expansion of democracy
which would pulblicise questions of allocation. Hence the thesis
examines the mechanisms which keep the conflict between capitalist
and democratic principles latent. I conclude that ultimately
capitalism is more likely to accept a high level of economic dislocation
than initiate a process which might democratise economic distribution.
Accordingly a sub-theme of the dissertation is that there is no
direct relationship between economic and political crises and that
political conservatism today is essentially an attempt to disengage the
two. In this regard a liberal political culture is especially useful.