Pluralism

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This page is a translated version of the page Pluralizm and the translation is 100% complete.

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PLURALISM (Latin pluralis – numerous) – in its broadest sense it is faith in diversity or the pursuit of diversity, multiplicity in the existence of many things. It is a theory in which reality consists of different entities, not able to be unified into one reality. As a descriptive concept p. may indicate the occurrence of: competition between parties (political p.), diversity of ethical values (moral p. or p. of values) and diversity of cultural views (cultural p.), etc. In a narrower sense, p. is the theory regarding the distribution of political power. P. is a guarantee that the power has been widely and evenly dispersed in the community and there is no one group – the ruling elite or the ruling class, which jointly determines the policy. Thanks to the rivalry of various groups, the individual’s freedom is secured. From a pluralistic point of view, politics is an arena for the clash of various subjects, but none of them should have a dominant position in relation to others. Political p. as a vision of reality arises from contradicting the beliefs about the possibility of a political body capable of representing a uniform political will of an organised community. Each political community is by nature an aggregation of diverse groups and non-identical interests, so there is no one political goal in the real sense. In a pluralistic political tradition, the individual has an unlimited possibility of political participation. As a normative concept, p. states that diversity is healthy and desirable – it protects individual freedom and promotes debate, polemic and understanding. Democracies are usually pluralistic systems. They create the freedom to manifest all differences – as long as they do not compromise the security, pride and property of fellow citizens and the elementary principles of state order. A pluralistic state is something more than a tolerant state. Legality, the legitimacy of its authorities is based on the assumption that the state consists of many different groups different in terms of race, ethnicity, differing in terms of values, faith and ideology, and that they are all equal partners; they are not barely tolerated by the majority. (→ democracy) [J.G. Otto]

Literature: F. Gross, Tolerancja i pluralizm [Tolerance and pluralism], Warszawa 1992 ■ A. Heywood, Ideologie polityczne. Wprowadzenie [Political ideologies. An introduction], Warszawa 2008 ■ Leksykon pojęć politycznych [Lexicon of political concepts], ed. M. Karwat, J. Ziółkowski, Warszawa 2013.

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