Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 132
Democracy/Kelsen: For Kelsen, modern democracy can only be realized as parliamentary democracy.(1) But Kelsen's position for parliamentarism is not a dogmatic position either; it is the observation of a civilizing process of increasing division of labor and social differentiation.(2) This functional theory of the parlamentary system explicitly opposes Kelsen's "fiction of representation".(3) >Parlamentary System/Kelsen.
Brocker I 132/133
Kelsen sees the competition between democracy and autocracy as central. Democracy itself strives for "leadershiplessness".(4) Kelsen explains the existence of democratic ideology predominantly in social psychology. He describes popular sovereignty as a "totem"(5), a mask that the norm-subjected people put on in order to at least in rituals stand out from the actors actually exercising power and to exalt themselves. Kelsen, on the other hand, like Weber, regards domination as necessary, which is why one only has to ask oneself the question how it is to be structured.
In Kelsen's eyes, democracy necessarily goes hand in hand with a certain world view, which assumes an unrecognizable absolute truth and absolute values and therefore also considers the "foreign, contrary opinion at least possible"(6). Only this allows democracy to be open to changing majorities and makes the minority position bearable.
Brocker I 135
KelsenVsSchmitt/KelsenVsSmend/Llanque: Kelsen is mainly seen as the author who can clearly be counted among the supporters of parliamentary democracy among the majority of democracy-critical state teachers of the Weimar Republic (Groh 2010)(7). He has published sharp criticisms of opponents in this debate, including Rudolf Smend and Carl Schmitt. Some also consider Kelsen to be the clearest opponent of Schmitt (Diner/Stolleis 1999(8); Dreier 1999(9)).
Brocker I 139
SchmittVsKelsen/HellerVsKelsen: Kelsen was accused of emptying democracy of content and degrading it to a procedural concept (Boldt 1986(10); Saage 2005(11)).



1. Hans Kelsen, »Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie«, in: Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik 47, 1920/1921, 50-85 (Separatdruck: Tübingen 1920). Erweiterte Fassung: Hans Kelsen, Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie, Tübingen 1929 (seitenidentischer Nachdruck:Aalen 1981), S. 25
2. Ebenda S. 29
3. Ebenda S. 30
4. Ebenda S. 79
5. Ebenda S. 86
6. Ebenda S. 101
7. Kathrin Groh, Demokratische Staatsrechtslehrer in der Weimarer Republik. Von der konstitutionellen Staatslehre zur Theorie des modernen demokratischen Verfassungsstaates, Tübingen 2010
8. Dan Diner & Michael (Hg.) Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt. A Juxtaposition, Gerlingen 1999
9. Horst Dreier »The Essence of Democracy: Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt Juxtaposed«, in: Dan Diner/Michael Stolleis (Hg.), Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt. A Juxtaposition, Gerlingen 1999, 71-79
10. Hans Boldt, »Demokratietheorie zwischen Rousseau und Schumpeter. Bemerkungen zu Hans Kelsens ›Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie‹«, in: Max Kaase (Hg.), Politische Wissenschaft und politische Ordnung. Analysen zur Theorie und Empirie demokratischer Regierungsweise, Festschrift für Rudolf Wildenmann, Opladen 1986, 217-232.
11. Richard Saage, Demokratietheorien: Historischer Prozess, Theoretische Entwicklung, Soziotechnische Bedingungen. Eine Einführung, Wiesbaden 2005.


Marcus Llanque, „Hans Kelsen, Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie“, in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Kelsen, Hans
Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-03-20
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