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Wrong TurningsHow the Left Got Lost$
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Geoffrey M. Hodgson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226505749

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226505916.001.0001

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Keeping Left: In Defence of Democracy and Individual Rights

Keeping Left: In Defence of Democracy and Individual Rights

(p.117) Chapter 7 Keeping Left: In Defence of Democracy and Individual Rights
Wrong Turnings

Geoffrey M. Hodgson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter is a defence of democracy and human rights. It opens with some examples of Left apologetics for repressive Communism in Russia, China and Cambodia. There is a comparison of death tolls, first between capitalism and Communism, and second between democratic capitalism and despotisms of all kinds. It is argued that democratic systems, where there is some protection of human rights, can evidently reduce the risks of famine and war. Democracy may also help economic development, at least for countries above relatively low levels of output per capita. The penultimate section discusses rights and their possible justifications. If rights are difficult to justify a priori by reason alone, the evidence of the twentieth century shows decisively that the protection of rights helps to reduce human suffering. The chapter ends with some diagrammatic depictions of different views in relation to the originally-defined notions of Left and Right.

Keywords:   communism, capitalism, democracy, human rights, famine, war

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