Democracy in Decline : Steps in the Wrong Direction
Part lament, part provocative call-to-action, Democracy in Decline charts how democracy is being diluted and restricted in five of the world's oldest democracies - the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. James Allan targets four main, interconnected causes of decline - judicial activism, the transformation and growth of international law, the development of supranational organizations, and the presence of undemocratic elites. He presents a convincing argument that the same trends are occurring whether the country has a constitutional bill of rights (United States and Canada), a statutory bill of rights (the United Kingdom and New Zealand), or no bill of rights at all (Australia). Identifying tactics used by lawyers, judges, and international bureaucrats to deny that any decline has occurred, Allan looks ahead to further deterioration caused by attacks on free speech, intolerant worldviews, internationalization through treaties and conventions, and illegal immigration. Social and political decisions, Allan argues, must be based on counting every adult in a nation state as equal. An essential book for anyone concerned with majority rule and fairness in numbers, Democracy in Decline presents a clear, well-stated account of trends that have been undermining democracy over three decades.
- Hardback | 204 pages
- 162.56 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 476.27g
- 20 May 2014
- McGill-Queen's University Press
- Montreal, Canada
"Democracy in Decline is vigorous, energetic, independent-minded and full of boisterous good humour. It has relentless drive. It never loses sight of the main elements of the argument. For those whose worldview is shaped by academia, by the public service "Something very odd is going on. The core anglophone democracies - among the oldest, most stable, constitutionally-evolved societies on earth, and the indispensable members of that small group of western nations which resisted the totalitarian temptations "As a trenchant opponent of the so-called Bill of Rights approach to democracy, whereby ever-increasing decisions are handed over to unelected judges (oddly, in the name of expanding liberty), I have frequently been attracted to James Allan's ideas on that subject. His latest book Democracy In Decline is a thoughtful contribution to this debate. It is disturbing that, even in the Anglosphere nations he discusses, too much power has been given to unelected and, in the case of the European Union, supra national bodies." The Honourable John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia
About James Allan
James Allan is professor in the TC Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland.