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Do We Need the Vote?: Reflections on John McCormick's Machiavellian Democracy

Do We Need the Vote?: Reflections on John McCormick's Machiavellian Democracy a rl e n e w. s axon h ou se I. Democracy Without the Vote John P. McCormick has written a radical and outrageous book: he wants to imagine democracy without the vote. With Machiavelli at his side, McCormick shatters the deification of "the vote," that treasured activity which seems to define democracy in the modern world. We trace the spread of democracy as the expansion of opportunities to vote and see elections as "the institutional centerpiece of modern democracy."1 We proudly paste "I voted" stickers to our lapels as we leave the polling centers. Iconic pictures of newly enfranchised South Africans waiting to vote on lines that wind around the African plateaus or Iraqi ex-patriots traveling multiple hours to vote for the first time satisfy our sense of progress: the more people who vote, the better place the world is. McCormick, though, asks: "Is it?" Taking as his guide the radical and outrageous Machiavelli who challenged the givens of his own time, McCormick challenges the sacred beliefs of our democracy-focused world, marked as it is by a vote fetishism, or what McCormick calls "election fixation."2 The vote has failed us by not ensuring the liberty and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Do We Need the Vote?: Reflections on John McCormick's Machiavellian Democracy

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
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Abstract

a rl e n e w. s axon h ou se I. Democracy Without the Vote John P. McCormick has written a radical and outrageous book: he wants to imagine democracy without the vote. With Machiavelli at his side, McCormick shatters the deification of "the vote," that treasured activity which seems to define democracy in the modern world. We trace the spread of democracy as the expansion of opportunities to vote and see elections as "the institutional centerpiece of modern democracy."1 We proudly paste "I voted" stickers to our lapels as we leave the polling centers. Iconic pictures of newly enfranchised South Africans waiting to vote on lines that wind around the African plateaus or Iraqi ex-patriots traveling multiple hours to vote for the first time satisfy our sense of progress: the more people who vote, the better place the world is. McCormick, though, asks: "Is it?" Taking as his guide the radical and outrageous Machiavelli who challenged the givens of his own time, McCormick challenges the sacred beliefs of our democracy-focused world, marked as it is by a vote fetishism, or what McCormick calls "election fixation."2 The vote has failed us by not ensuring the liberty and

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Feb 16, 2011

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