The Rule of the Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory

By Thomas Christiano | Go to book overview

not permanent. Given the shifting distribution of opinions in the society, the chances are that in the future they will either find themselves in a more powerful position to affect the agenda or more citizens in the society will see that their views are legitimate and important (if their own views do not undergo change). Thus, over time the significance of these inequalities will be mitigated for many groups.

Nevertheless, it is clear that there is no permanent or fully satisfying solution to the problem of the deliberative agenda. This problem explains perhaps more than anything else the permanent proneness of democracies to self-examination and reassessment. Democratic societies are and must always be restless and changing.


Notes
1.
It should go without saying that equal access to education both in and out of schools is an elementary condition of democracy inasmuch as it requires equality in cognitive conditions for participation. No society that makes the possession of an adequate education for many of its citizens extremely difficult or even impossible to acquire can be said to be concerned with the interests of all its citizens. The shocking disparity of access to adequate education in the United States is incompatible with the most widely held beliefs about equality among citizens as well as democracy.

My discussion focuses on democracy among educated adults, but I want to make three observations with regard to education. First, such education must include an introduction to the principles of democratic government, including the basic norms of citizenship we are attempting to understand and a well-rounded coverage of the histories and cultures of the various peoples and groups in our society. Second, the analysis here makes a contribution to a more egalitarian conception of education insofar as it attempts to describe the framework within which democratic discussion about education can take place. Moreover, this framework ought to increase the understanding of the diversity of interests and points of view in the society as well as facilitate acceptance of it. Third, the norms outlined in this chapter are applicable to educational institutions to the degree that they are concerned with enhancing the skills in discussion and deliberation of citizens.

2.
The locus classicus of this argument is Robert Michels, Political Parties ( New York: Dover Publications, 1959 [ 1915]).
3.
See Paul Sabatier, "Interest Group Membership and Organization: Multiple Theories", in The Politics of Interest Groups Transformed, ed. Mark Petracca ( Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), pp. 99-129, for a discussion of solidary motives in interest groups. See also Alan Ware, Citizens,

-295-

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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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