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Respecting leaders in a democracy


Respect for politicians is in short supply in our times. Most citizens of contemporary democracies seem to tolerate, not respect, those they elect. Are we troubled by the absence of respect in politics? Should politicians even be accorded respect? If yes, what form of respect must they get?

Directive respect: Egalitarian

‘Respect’ has multiple senses, of which three are relevant here. One sense, that might be called ‘directive respect’, was elaborated by the late 18th century German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. For him, respect had the force of an authoritative moral instruction, a…



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