The Rule of the Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory

By Thomas Christiano | Go to book overview

out primarily by the system of political parties and interest groups. Third, political institutions must ensure some kind of adequate monitoring of public officials in charge of negotiating and implementing the aims of citizens.

The second step is to show how these functions can be carried out by political institutions in a manner that is consistent with the ideals of political equality and democratic deliberation. I will argue in the next chapter that parties in a legislative assembly have the functions of delegates to citizens with regard to the aims of society and trustee to citizens with regard to the means for achieving these aims and the compromises necessary to resolve disagreements over the aims. I will argue that a system of party list proportional representation is the proper institutional mechanism for ensuring that this function is carried out in an egalitarian way. Such a system also helps with the agency problem. In Chapter 7, I argue that the function of providing a context of deliberation for citizens ought to be primarily carried out by a system of informal associations in the society: political parties and interest groups. I will also argue that this is the primary function of these groups in a society that realizes the democratic ideals. And I will argue that despite the division of labor in the formulation of aims, citizens are the basic choosers of aims. In Chapter 8, I will argue that such a system can go a long way towards resolving the agency problem I have described. I will then describe principles for defining an egalitarian deliberative process and discuss the institutions for satisfying those principles.


Notes
1.
John Rawls, A Theory of Justice ( Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 145.
2.
In case there is any appearance of conspiracy of the experts against the ordinary citizen, it should be noted that each expert in one area is an ordinary citizen in many others. A legislator who is very knowledgeable about how to get laws passed through the United States Congress is not much better off than most other people on the fine points of nuclear policy or environmental law. An expert on one of these latter topics is not likely to be highly knowledgeable about how to get laws through the Congress. Given the size of the system by which laws are made, each expert in one or two

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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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