The rise of populist and extremist political parties has forced democrats to consider how best to defend their core values. Should democracies impose restrictions on those who would use legal means to subvert them? If not, which other methods can preserve the democratic spirit against its challengers?
The aim of this project is to offer theoretical guidance for designing legitimate and effective policies of democratic self-defence. It does so by conceptualizing pro-democratic responses as belonging to three distinct models: the ‘militant’ that allows banning antidemocratic parties and restricting free speech (Germany), the ‘liberal’ that opposes such bans and favours the use of criminal law and judicial review (US), and the ‘social’ that stresses social and political integration (Sweden). My project will examine these three types by looking at their historical origins in interwar political thought, their contemporary articulation in parliamentary debates, and their normative justifications in contemporary political theory.