Iraqi and American democracy

RJLipkin at RJLipkin at
Wed Jul 20 08:03:12 PDT 2005

If "democracy" is a serious  political philosophy, it's difficult to 
understand what it means to say a  "democracy patterned after our values." Sure, 
democracies can (and should) vary  here and there, reflecting the particulars of a 
given culture, but I'm not  sure it is appropriate to call a nation "a 
democracy" if it explicitly (or  implicitly) denies women equal rights, tolerates 
slavery, and so forth.  "Democracy," of course, does not require reflecting all 
our idiosyncratic  cultural commitments; but it surely must be committed to a 
robust conception of  equal rights. In my view, it doesn't bode well for any 
society to draft a  constitution that doesn't explicitly and comprehensively 
protect equal rights  for everyone.

Robert Justin  Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of  Law
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