Conflicts, liberty and peace do not coexist easily. Through most of history, civil peace was maintained by the threat of force. Contemporary ideologues of authoritarian regimes maintain that political conflicts inevitably result in violence, and the founders of modern representative institutions in the West have shared this view. Yet we now know that political institutions can cope with conflicts, that conflicts can be structured, regulated and contained, and that purely procedural rules can be effective in processing conflicts. Most importantly, we have come to realise that choosing governments through competitive elections is the only way to foster political freedom in divided societies. Competitive elections support social peace by enabling political forces to think in inter-temporal terms. In turn, civil peace is maintained between elections when when opposition groups expect to be reasonably successful within the halls of representative institutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science