PHIL 240 Who Should Rule? - General Issues

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General Issues on Democracy
Participatory Democracy
Extension of Rousseau's model in three ways:
1) Increased individual involvement in political discussion and decision-
making; more room for dissent
2) Rethinking Rousseau's distinction between the Sovereign and the Executive
3) People should be consulted on all decisions which affect them
Criticism: groups are better at deliberation, but individuals are better at action
Participatory dem just means all citizens are consulted; there can still be
administrators
Bigger groups =/= better deliberation; small and knowledgeable
group could be better
Criticism: who sets agenda?
People can vote on agenda
Who sets agenda for that? Infinite regress...
Criticism: costs too much time for the individual; we enjoy having political say, but
also other things
Representative Democracy
People elect administrators, who both decide and carry out the law.
Mill: two purposes of government – to “improve” the citizens (morally and
intellectually) and to manage their public affairs
Mill argues that despotism leads to passivity and inaction, for it results in a people
who have no need to educate/inform themselves of politics -> negative effect on
the state's prosperity
Mill emphasizes need for citizens to be educated to citizenship
Mill's threats to rep dem:
1) Unworthy/unfit people standing for election
The qualities most successful in politics – flattery, manipulation – are the ones we
least want to see in leaders
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Document Summary

Criticism: groups are better at deliberation, but individuals are better at action. Participatory dem just means all citizens are consulted; there can still be administrators. Bigger groups =/= better deliberation; small and knowledgeable group could be better. Criticism: costs too much time for the individual; we enjoy having political say, but also other things. People elect administrators, who both decide and carry out the law. Mill: two purposes of government to improve the citizens (morally and intellectually) and to manage their public affairs. Mill argues that despotism leads to passivity and inaction, for it results in a people who have no need to educate/inform themselves of politics -> negative effect on the state"s prosperity. Mill emphasizes need for citizens to be educated to citizenship. Mill"s threats to rep dem: unworthy/unfit people standing for election. The qualities most successful in politics flattery, manipulation are the ones we least want to see in leaders.

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