Democracy is an extraordinary invention and viewing it from a humble perspective is an innovative way to safeguard existing democracies, a visiting academic from the UK said yesterday.
John Keane, a professor of politics at the UK's University of Westminster, suggested a theory of "humble democracy." Unlike dictatorships, which nurture monopolies of power, humble democracy fosters the understanding that multiple forms of democracy are possible, he said.
Keane, ranked by London's Times newspaper as one of Britain's leading political thinkers, was invited by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy to deliver a lecture titled "Why Democracy? Considerations on an Old Ideal in Need of New Life" yesterday at the foundation.
PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES
In introducing Keane, Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌), standing supervisor of the foundation and a national policy adviser to the president, talked about the importance of understanding the meaning of democracy.
"The foundation feels the need to let all the people of Taiwan understand the reason our country needs democracy and search for solutions to fight for the survival of democracy in Taiwan," Hsiao said.
Keane praised Taiwan as having a more modest and humble form of democracy than the US, where political leaders often cite "God" in saying that all nations are entitled to democracy.
Keane also noted the challenges Taiwan faces.
"At the cutting edge of the problem of how democracies can survive, Taiwan must grapple with the problem of how to nurture and sustain its democracy in a difficult geopolitical environment," Keane said.
All mature democracies are suffering the symptoms of aging and degeneration, he said.
"What is needed ... is a democratic way of thinking about the advantages of democracy," Keane said.
"Instead of thinking of democracy as true and right, humble democracy sees democracy as the best political weapon for publicly humbling armies, governments, parties and corporations," he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
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