For Dewey, democracy’s survival depends on a set of habits and dispositions—in short, a culture—to sustain it.
This is as true for institutions of higher education, I would add, as it is for democracies.
Checks and balances do not have an agency of their own. A democracy is only as strong as the [people] who inhabit it.
In focusing on culture, Dewey asks us not to leave the fate of our politics and policies wholly up to chance. He asks us to see that securing freedom, equal protection, and human dignity requires that we fight to have those values enshrined as part of the self-understanding of the citizenry.