Jeff Noonan contends that the inequality and increasingly totalitarian practice of current systems of democracy proves that democratic ideals cannot be fully realized in existing institutions. These institutions are bound up with an economic system based upon private and exclusive control of the resources and wealth everyone needs in order to enjoy a meaningful life as socially self-conscious agents. However, this fact does not mean that democratic values are wrong, only that their realization demands a different set of social structures and institutions. Noonan goes on to explore alternative sets of individual motivations, goals, and values from those that define liberal-capitalism.
Introduction: Democracy Today
Chapter One: Democracy and Self-Determination
Chapter Two: Liberalism and Democracy
Chapter Three: The Real Contradiction Between Inequality and Democracy
Chapter Four: Right-Wing Populism as a Threat to Democracy
Chapter Five: Radical Democracy: Agonistic Theory and Horizontalist Practice
Chapter Six: Shared Life-Interests and Democratic Self-Determination