DEMOCRATIC DREAMS:(il)LIBERAL REALITIES

Smoke and Mirrors

I

It seems that everyone in Thailand is a supporter of democracy.

Even General Prayuth, the man who led the most recent overthrow of an elected government, has insisted that his government is “99 percent democratic”, in spite of his never having been elected, his virtually unlimited power under the notorious Article 44 of the interim constitution, and his somewhat contradictory analysis of Thailand’s problem over the past decade and a half as being the result of “too much democracy”. 1

“Democracy”, the word anyway, has been used in so many ways to describe so many different styles of government over the years as to have become almost meaningless unless accompanied by either a definition or a qualifier. My own use of the term outside of scare quotes refers to what is commonly known as liberal democracy, with liberal being used in the political-legal sense of a set of laws…

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