The Rule of the Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory

By Thomas Christiano | Go to book overview

Introduction

The Justification and Elaboration of the Democratic Ideals

Any society is organized in many ways by rules that constrain the lives of its citizens and by which each expects others to abide. We are constrained by traffic rules, tax laws, regulations on our economic activities, laws protecting property and punishing offenders as well as laws regulating education and health care. Our society is constituted and regulated by a constitution, laws, and government. Every citizen is obligated to comply with these laws and expects others to do the same. The laws that bind us are not, however, inevitable. We live under one set of laws now, but in the past we lived under different laws, and in the future we may be bound by others. In addition, other societies have different laws. For example, in the United States the laws permit advertisers to promote their clients' products on television with certain important restrictions, but those laws could be changed to forbid advertising on television as some countries have legislated, or they could be altered to allow people to advertise without any restrictions.

Since a society can be organized in different ways, we can ask two distinct questions about its organization. First, How well is it organized? To answer this question we will evaluate the quality of the laws and policies a society has and their impact on the well-being of the population, and we will compare them to possible alternatives. We may say that a society fares best when it permits private property and free trade, or we may disagree with this assessment. We can debate the relative merits of different sets of laws. Second, we can

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The Rule of the Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 11
  • Part One Foundations of Democracy 13
  • Chapter One - Self-Government 15
  • Chapter Two - Equality 47
  • Notes 98
  • Part Two Democracy and the Problem of the Modern State 103
  • Chapter Three - the Challenge of the Modern State to the Democratic Ideals 104
  • Notes 128
  • Chapter Four - the Economic Conception of Citizenship 131
  • Notes 159
  • Chapter Five - a Normative Conception of Citizenship 165
  • Notes 201
  • Part Three Principles and Problems of Democratic Institutions 205
  • Chapter Six - Equality and Legislative Representation 206
  • Notes 240
  • Chapter Seven - Interest Groups and Political Parties as Institutions of Deliberation 243
  • Notes 262
  • Chapter Eight Equality in the Process of Social Deliberation 265
  • Notes 295
  • Selected Bibliography 299
  • About the Book and Author 305
  • Index 307
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