On Democracy

“What are the consequences of attempts to forcefully impose democracy on societies with no such traditions? Especially, how does the imposition of ‘winner-take-all’ democratic elections in ethnically divided societies exacerbate violence, as has happened time and again in many postcolonial societies in recent decades? How does the reframing of local differences in terms of international issues, backed by opposed international forces, create a virtual state of nature, as happened in Iraq, India, Sri Lanka, and many other similar situations, going back to the encompassment of local disputes in the opposition between democratic-imperial Athens and oligarchic Sparta in the Peloponnesian War?”

– Marshall Sahlins (2013, interview with David Moberg)

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