The whole debate seems a little too much like navel-gazing to me, but in Steinglass's response he makes a statement I 100% agree with, but couldn't have said so well:
It is possible that single-party rule by a self-selecting, self-reproducing political elite that allows cultural and entrepreneurial freedom is a viable model for a modern state.
I think this is the lesson of modern China, and it is a lesson that won't be lost on future aspiring autocrats. Remember when capitalism would lead to democracy? I read an awful book about it in college. I think it's a flawed hypothesis.