chapter  3
15 Pages

Limitations on Power

ByAlain Touraine

The limitation of political power was born of the alliance between the idea of natural law and the idea of civil society. The appeal to human rights and the political philosophy that dominated the century between England's revolution and France's have very different implications. Democracy is an institutional mediation between state and society, with the latter's freedom depending on the sovereignty of the state. The idea of democracy is antithetical to that of revolution because the latter gives the state complete power in order to transform society. The separation of civil society, political society, and state is a central precondition for the emergence of democracy. Liberalism sacrifices all for the sake of a single aspect of democracy—the limitation of power—and it does so in the name of a conception that threatens the democratic idea as much as it protects it.