This chapter examines the relationship between authoritarianism and liberal democratic constitutionalism from a distinctive vantage point. Even among quite sensitive treatments of ‘hybrid’ and ‘dual state’ regimes – regimes that combine authoritarianism with features of liberal democratic institutions and practices – there remains an air of surprise at their stability; repressive measures are generally described as occurring in spite of the liberal democratic institutions and practices and not because of them; and attention rests almost exclusively with the ‘sham’ appearance of liberal democratic institutions and practices in these regimes, not the appearance of authoritarianism in liberal democratic states. Authoritarianism, in short, is persistently framed in the negative space of democratic constitutionalism. Revealing as this may be of the varieties of authoritarianism, it tends to obscure the question whether authoritarianism is in important respects constitutive of democratic governance – an element of the revolutionary violence necessary to establish constitutional order and the legal and political means by which it is sustained.
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