[Marxism] Fighting democracies

Michael Hoover mhhoover at gmail.com
Mon Jul 17 12:50:12 MDT 2006

On 7/16/06, Nick Costello <nicholascostello at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Two thoughts about the Palestine/Israel/Lebanon fighting:
> Firstly, it's often been remarked that (bourgeois) democracies never go to
> war. That's clearly no longer true, since both the Hamas and Israeli
> governments are democratically elected - both in the formal
> elections-every-four-or-five-years sense and in the substantial
> represent-the-predominant-feelings-of-their-electorate sense. And so is the
> Lebanese government.
> Secondly, we can expect new dynamics to this new phenomenon - war between
> bourgeois democracies. According to today's BBC, Hezbollah "has claimed
> responsibility for the attack [on Haifa], saying it was retaliation for the
> deaths of Lebanese civilians and the destruction of the country's
> infrastructure during the Israeli air raids." So when democracies fight, is
> the target the other's electorate?

Variations of the so-called "democratic peace" have been attributed to
Kant, Rousseau,
and Woodrow Wilson. As to point #1 above, joe hagan concluded that
democratically elected governments in the 19th and 20th centuries were
no more "peace prone" than non-democracies. His evidence also
indicated that war involving democracies were "less bloody" even as
they were more protracted. Regarding point #2 above, William Dixon
found that no wars were fought between democratically elected
governments in the 19th and 20th centuries. Of course, one might
question the operational definitions used by both of these guys given
that it is rather difficult to consider any 19th century political
state (and not that many in the first decades of the 20th) a democracy
except in the narrowest formal sense.
Michael Hoover

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