More on Democracy in Egypt

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Ilya Somin wrote a response to my post on democracy in Egypt.   As Ilya notes, we largely agree on the issues, including my additional points that democracy requires both compromise and periodic elections rather than one election, and that constitutions ought to be enacted by supermajority rules. In turn, I agree with Ilya that there may be tragic choices as to whether to violently displace a majority elected government that is repressive.

But I did want to clarify one point about terminology.  I agree with Ilya that some people use democracy to mean government chosen by majority vote and some people use it to mean something like liberal democracy.  My main point (which I should have been clearer about) was to say that even the narrower form of democracy — with government chosen by majority vote — requires (1) periodic elections, not just one election, and (2) compromise, in order to work effectively.  Thus, one can criticize the Morsi regime for not merely being illiberal, but also for not really following the narrower form of democracy.