Kenney, Matthew T.
About the author: The author is an assistant professor of political science at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. He earned his MA in Latin American Studies and PHD in Political science from Tulane University. He has worked extensively on democratization in Latin America, with special focus on political culture in the region. His current research project focuses on theoretical connections in the works of Immanuel Kant, Alexis de Tocqueville, and John Rawls.2003 0-7734-6581-2
This book examines the interplay between political values and the health and stability of today’s liberal democracies. It examines a set of core political values by drawing on the insights and arguments of leading political theorists past and present. The new democracies are represented by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, and the established democracies by Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. The study uses data from the 1990 and 1995-7 World Values Surveys. Statistical analyses provide strong support for the theoretical claims of John Rawls and others that such liberal virtues as tolerance, trust, independence, and responsibility are conducive to democratic stability and to a more robust version of citizenship that goes well beyond the unfettered pursuit of private interests. Instead, this study argues that individuals who score high on the index of liberal virtues are more likely to discuss politics, to participate in politics, to resist authority, to view democracy as the best form of governance, and to demand equality of opportunity for all. This bridging of classical normative theory and contemporary empirical analysis in this work represents a much-needed contribution to scholarship in both political theory and comparative politics.