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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 69, 2018

Political Philosophy

Simon Glynn
Pages 141-147

Democracy, Liberalism, Torture and Extra-Judicial Assassination

Of the many ideological blind spots that have afflicted political perceptions and analysis, none has been more debilitating than the equation of democracy with liberalism. Thus those who attempt to derive propaganda value from such an equation are vulnerable, as the US government has found, to the rhetorical counter attack that in opposing democratically elected governments, such as that of Hamas or Hugo Chavez, they are not merely being anti-democratic, but are in illiberal opposition to human rights and civil liberties also; an argument quite independent of the same charges emanating from their support of, for example, the governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore The Council of Europe has drawn attention to the US government’s inhumane, humiliating, degrading and cruel treatment, including torture, of prisoners, at Guantanamo, and the torture of prisoners in the supposedly secret or “black” prisons operated both by the CIA, and other countries, where the torture of prisoners, often illegally or extra judicially rendered to them, has been outsourced. In light of this the paper takes up a discussion of the nature of the relationship between Liberalism, Democracy and Torture as it is germane to the current legitimation crisis facing supposedly liberal democracies.

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