Government will always be with us. Government will always be coercive. And among the laws that government enforces, some will always be unwelcome to a particular person or group. Democracy is meant to help reconcile us to these hard facts by giving power to the people. There are, however, two distinct ways of construing democracy, and they have different strategies for enabling “the people” to exercise power. One conception of democracy is focused on people as a collective agent: the people. The other account sees people as a collection of persons: people, without the article. One is ‘populist’ in spirit, whereas the other has a ‘personalist’ character.



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