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What is democracy


Democracy where the social system actualizes the will of the people. Modest democracy protection of individual rights and minority rights without ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What is democracy

What is democracy?
  • Presentation of questions, ideas
  • Discussion

Democracy three principles
  • Wide dispersal of power
  • Allow for aggregation of power sufficient for the
    specific sets of the duties, obligations being
    addressed (err on the side of a narrow set of
    duties, obligations) but with a check
    sufficient to counter that particular aggregation
    of power when necessary
  • Open

Democracy three definitions
  • Democracy where government actualizes the will
    of the people
  • Democracy where the social system actualizes
    the will of the people
  • Modest democracy protection of individual
    rights and minority rights without undue
    frustration of the will of the people
  • The will of the people
  • Rousseaus General Will?
  • Lockean aggregation and summation of individual
    wills? (social welfare economy)
  • Other definitions of the people
  • Is there a public interest? Is it in tension
    with the will of the people?
  • Maybe we dont want a democracy

Democracy do we want it?
  • Platos typology of governments types of
    government in descending order of goodness
  • Aristocracy
  • Timarchy
  • Oligarchy
  • Democracy
  • Platos description of democracy (Waterfield,
    296, 297, 302, 303)
  • (Source Robin Waterfield, trans., intro., notes.
    1993. Republic by Plato. Oxford and New York
    Oxford University Press.)

Democracy do we want it?
  • Aristotles typology of governments
  • . Kingship and Aristocracy are best, but
    Polity appears to be most stable.
  • (Source Ernest Barker, trans. revised,
    introduction and notes by R.F. Stalley. 1998.
    Politics by Aristotle. Oxford and New York
    Oxford University Press Oxford Worlds Classics.)

  • Attitudes?
  • Behaviors?
  • Structures?
  • Set of principles?
  • Any pre-requisites or requirements?
  • Memory
  • Ritual
  • Human ability and will
  • Pre-constitutional unanimity (Tullock and
    Buchanan Rawls)

Is democracy a matter of government structures?
  • Do the structures facilitate accomplishment of
    the will of the people or hinder it?
  • USAs systems of governments
  • Swiss Confederalism
  • United Kingdoms unitary government
  • Parliament and prime minister
  • Corporate-state partnership (a la Europe)
  • Other possibilities

Is democracy a matter of government functions,
practices, and procedures?(Recall the
facilitate or hinder rule and the three
  • Rule-making and agency hearings, adjudication
  • Congressional rules legislative hearings
  • Judicial procedures
  • Substantive due process and procedural due
    process venue ripeness etc.
  • The justice (sentencing, etc.)/penal system
  • 2 million in U.S. prisons maybe prison is
  • Open meetings, FOIA, classified information
  • Social democracy social justice
  • Single-member or multiple-member districts
    first-past-the post
  • Proportional representation
  • Electoral college
  • New England town meeting virtual democracy
  • Work 20 hours a week do democracy 20 hours a week

Is democracy simply majority rule?
  • Which majority?
  • How large a majority?
  • How do we know what the majority wants?
  • With or without minority rights? Any limits on
    minority rights?

Which majority?
  • Electoral majorities is 50.1 democratic?
  • 50.1 of what?
  • Congressional majorities is 51 of 100 in the
    Senate democratic?
  • Bureaucratic majorities is three of five
    democratic? (example decisions by FCCs
  • Court majorities is 5-4 democratic?
  • Public opinion polls

How large a majority?
  • First-past-the-post simple majority
    super-majority unanimity
  • Is there a minimum participation rule?
  • Below what level of participation is a system no
    longer a democracy?

How do we know what the majority wants?
  • Voice
  • Access to the media
  • Recall, referendum, initiative, protest, civil
    disobedience, terrorism
  • Disenfranchisement of felons
  • Political parties
  • Single party system, two-party system,
    multi-party system
  • Democrats, Republicans, Social Democrats,
    Christian Democrats, Communists, National
    Socialists, Libertarians,etc.
  • Interest groups, etc.
  • Public opinion polls
  • Vote (who-time-place)
  • Arrows Impossibility Theorem social welfare
    functions (An explanation of Arrows
    Impossibility Theorem http//www-tech.mit.edu/V123

With or without minority rights?
  • Why worry about minority rights?

Are constitutional limits necessarily part of
  • No simply follow the will of the people
  • Yes
  • What/which kinds of limits?
  • Only those expressly enumerated?
  • To whom do the limits apply?
  • Foreign prisoners and torture
  • What about common law?

If consent is not informed, is there a democracy?
  • How informed do we need to be (e.g., what and
    how much do we need to know)?
  • Whose responsibility is it to inform?
  • Service learning ADP

Can there be democracy without a free market
economy (and private property?)
  • The problematique of a free market
  • Low transaction costs? Low information costs?
    Relative power symmetry?
  • Public and social goods externalities and
    N-order consequences
  • Lipsey and Lancasters Theory of Second-Best
  • Social democracy and social justice (again)
    welfare democracy
  • Utilitarianism
  • Communalism

Is democracy threatened by disparities in wealth
and class?
  • The issue of opportunity structures

Can there be democracy if it is only in the
public sphere?
  • Group, organizational, and corporate governance,
    structure, dynamics, behavior, accountability
  • Is hierarchy antithetical to democracy?

Is democracy in the beliefs and behaviors of
individuals acting severally and in groups?
  • Civicpolitical engagement (Mehaffeys
  • The minimum participation rule (again)
  • Service learning (again)

Is democracy organic or by nature?
  • By nature according to an ideal that remains
    fixed, unalterable, unambiguous
  • Organic evolving, unfolding change in
    (meaning of) ideals
  • A post-modern sentiment We dont need to know
    where we are going before we leave, but we can
    agree to leave together.
  • Democracy is not a destination, its a journey

Democracy is
  • Time-consuming, messy, confusing, frustrating,
    demanding, chaotic
  • Vigorous, inventive, self-creating,
    self-renewing, dynamic, hopeful, open, inclusive,
  • A roiling ululation of cacophonous ids
  • Equal opportunity
  • Mottled, splotched, striated, blotted, marbled,
    imbricolated, fused, splintered, fractured,
    feathered, woven, pooled, gathered, stuffed,
    tossed, boreal, rhyzomatic, mosaic, pot pouri
  • Social transcendence
  • A collective going-under and a collective
    going-over (socialized Nietzsche)
  • An inchoate symphony of dissimilar voices
  • A public library
  • Public and universal education
  • Community and communion with respect for
    individual differences
  • A recognition of the equality of individuals in
    some fundamental sense
  • Dead, if we treat it as a museum piece

Is it really democracy that we seek?
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