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The Liberal tradition of democracy is split into two different theories Each theory is based as are most political theories on a set of assumptions In the Liberal tradition the assumptions made by each group are often based on what they believe is important in the Liberal tradition Because there are two important dimensions in the Liberal tradition and people base their assumptions and theories on these two dimensions there developed two basic theories in the Liberal tradition They are the Thick and Thin theories of democracy The Thick theory of democracy is rooted in the conservative dimension of democracy The conservative dimension of democracy is the side that is concerned with the citizen and his role in preserving democracy as a society Authors like Alexis De Tocqueville Karl Marx and John Dewey believe in the citizens ability to participate effectively in government based on the assumption that all men are naturally equal The Thin theory of democracy stands on the other side of the Liberal tradition This side of the Liberal tradition embraces the capitalist dimension of democracy Joseph A Schumpeter and William G Sumner are two thinkers who see democracy as a method based on assumptions made about natural markets They believe that society works economically and that everything should be done that is possible to maintain a free economic system The split in the Liberal tradition having two distinct models and way things should be done creates a whole slew of interesting questions One of the most fundamental and probably the most fun is whether one theory is superior to the other I believe that the Thick theory of democracy is superior to the Thin theory of democracy Using both Deweys and Sumners works Ill show that the Thick theory of democracy has a positive view of individuals citizens in government and society and is therefore more realistic An important idea to look at in each theory is the rights
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