Anti-political sentiment in contemporary liberal democracies

Michael Hogan, The University of Sydney


A healthy liberal democracy depends upon the willingness of citizens to appreciate the value of the institutions and processes that are central to its operation—genuine elections, representative assemblies, political parties, politicians with human frailties, and the need for compromise and protection of the interests of minorities. This paper compares the anti-political sentiment of the 1920s and 1930s (when many democratic regimes were swept away by fascist and authoritarian governments) with more contemporary forms of anti-politics. It asks whether there is an imminent threat to the survival of liberal democracy and suggests areas that need reform.

Michael Hogan <> is an Honorary Associate in Government and International Relations at The University of Sydney. He is the author of many books and articles, including The Sectarian Strand: Religion in Australian History (1987) and Local Labor: A History of the Labor Party in Glebe 1891–2003 (2004).

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