The thesis upheld in this article is that democracy can afford not to be a "regime of truth" if it ensures that its pre-legal resources of legitimisation are kept alive. This vitalisation is not an apolitical process. The issue of the resources of meaning of pluralist democracies ultimately questions the "status of modernity". This essay explores the problematic and its ambivalences by analysing the concepts of neutralisation and depoliticisation derived from Schmitt. The model proposed by legal nihilism, according to which modernity, with its voluntarism, brings about a neutralisation that is destined to result in the selfreferential domain of technique, is excessively reductionist. In the opinion of the author, the modern legal order is not so much "nihilist" as an "order of recognition" that is structurally open to renewed forms of integration. Nevertheless, the last thirty years have left a heritage of a double denial of politics that threatens the future of democracy.
Keywords: Democracy, Nihilism, Depoliticisation, Modernity, Secularisation