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Machiavellian Democracy: An Engine for Reform

Machiavellian Democracy: An Engine for Reform k evi n o ' l e a ry Machiavellian Democracy, a sterling effort by John McCormick to rescue the Florentine sage from a conservative civic republican tradition, is at its heart a plea to take modern democracy back to the future.1 McCormick believes the elitist procedural account of popular sovereignty, as championed by writers from Guicciardini to Schumpeter, sanctions elective oligarchy and control over public policy by the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.2 "Modern popular governments are no less vulnerable than their historical antecedents to corruption, subversion, and usurpation by the wealthy," writes McCormick.3 In the case of the United States, recent work by Larry Bartels, Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson and David Cay Johnston, among others, documents the great success America's economic elite have enjoyed in shaping policy and tax rules to their liking since 1980.4 Given this economic and political fact, how can average citizens maintain control of the government? McCormick's scholarship on Machiavelli is exciting and valuable in several respects.5 First, he convincingly demonstrates that Machiavelli is one of the few major political philosophers who is a radical democrat and that Machiavelli went well beyond others in the republican tradition in defending and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Machiavellian Democracy: An Engine for Reform

The Good Society , Volume 20 (2) – Feb 16, 2011

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-9731
Publisher site
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Abstract

k evi n o ' l e a ry Machiavellian Democracy, a sterling effort by John McCormick to rescue the Florentine sage from a conservative civic republican tradition, is at its heart a plea to take modern democracy back to the future.1 McCormick believes the elitist procedural account of popular sovereignty, as championed by writers from Guicciardini to Schumpeter, sanctions elective oligarchy and control over public policy by the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.2 "Modern popular governments are no less vulnerable than their historical antecedents to corruption, subversion, and usurpation by the wealthy," writes McCormick.3 In the case of the United States, recent work by Larry Bartels, Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson and David Cay Johnston, among others, documents the great success America's economic elite have enjoyed in shaping policy and tax rules to their liking since 1980.4 Given this economic and political fact, how can average citizens maintain control of the government? McCormick's scholarship on Machiavelli is exciting and valuable in several respects.5 First, he convincingly demonstrates that Machiavelli is one of the few major political philosophers who is a radical democrat and that Machiavelli went well beyond others in the republican tradition in defending and

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Feb 16, 2011

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