Majorities Have Rights, Too

While liberal democracy, especially in its American form, is designed to follow the will of the majority while protecting the rights of minorities, Liav Orgad’s book The Cultural Defense of Nations argues that majorities themselves have particular rights that need protection—especially when immigration and demographic change threaten to undermine or replace national culture and values. Anna Su writes in her review:

[In shaping the U.S. Constitution, James] Madison assumed that . . . the majority can take care of itself, while the structure of government would ensure . . . that minority rights are not disregarded. In his timely and erudite [book], the Israeli legal scholar Liav Orgad flips that idea on its head and argues that majority groups under certain conditions also need protection. Their identity, history, government, and way of life need defending. And this need is most pressing when immigration renders their numerical superiority less salient. . . . Provocatively, Orgad justifies [his argument] on the same liberal grounds of the right to self-determination and right to culture [and] identity [on which minority rights are founded].

Why [the need to] play defense now? The first three chapters of Cultural Defense survey the landscape of changing migration patterns and chronicle the corresponding demographic as well as cultural anxieties . . . besetting countries in Western Europe, the United States, and Israel. . . .

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at New Rambler Review

More about: Democracy, History & Ideas, Immigration, Israel, Liberalism, Nationalism, U.S. Constitution

 

Is There a Way Out of Israel’s Political Deadlock?

On Tuesday, leaders of the Jewish state’s largest political parties, Blue and White and Likud, met to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreement—and failed to come to an agreement. If none of the parties in the Knesset succeeds in forming a governing coalition, there will be a third election, with no guarantee that it will be more conclusive than those that preceded it. Identifying six moves by key politicians that have created the deadlock, Shmuel Rosner speculates as to whether they can be circumvented or undone:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month

Register

Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics