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Experiments In Democracy

Experiments In Democracy Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 9, No. 2 (December 2012), 75­92 Editions Rodopi ©2012 I take a skeptical view of the experimentalism Dorf and Sabel advocate. I discuss doubts of three kinds: Doubt about the idea of "best practices"; doubt about their understanding of scientific experimentation; and doubt about the value of the Constitutional reform they envision. Their program reduces democracy to competitive rituals and managerial predation. The imperative of comparison threatens practices with destruction. "Benchmarking" is a machine to destroy divergence. To compel such comparison with the force of law would be a catastrophe for the ecology of human practices, an enforced monoculturalism that would make democracy infinitely easier to manage at the price of making it infinitely less democratic. There is no such thing as democracy; there are a number of more or less democratic experiments. ­ Walter Lippmann We are experiments: let us also want to be them! ­ Nietzsche I am like a gambler, & love a wild experiment. ­ Charles Darwin 1. Dewey's Democratic Experiments According to John Dewey, the recognition "that natural energy can be systematically applied, through experimental observation, to the satisfaction and multiplication of concrete wants" is "the greatest single discovery ever http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Experiments In Democracy

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 9 (2): 75 – Apr 21, 2012

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2012 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000231
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 9, No. 2 (December 2012), 75­92 Editions Rodopi ©2012 I take a skeptical view of the experimentalism Dorf and Sabel advocate. I discuss doubts of three kinds: Doubt about the idea of "best practices"; doubt about their understanding of scientific experimentation; and doubt about the value of the Constitutional reform they envision. Their program reduces democracy to competitive rituals and managerial predation. The imperative of comparison threatens practices with destruction. "Benchmarking" is a machine to destroy divergence. To compel such comparison with the force of law would be a catastrophe for the ecology of human practices, an enforced monoculturalism that would make democracy infinitely easier to manage at the price of making it infinitely less democratic. There is no such thing as democracy; there are a number of more or less democratic experiments. ­ Walter Lippmann We are experiments: let us also want to be them! ­ Nietzsche I am like a gambler, & love a wild experiment. ­ Charles Darwin 1. Dewey's Democratic Experiments According to John Dewey, the recognition "that natural energy can be systematically applied, through experimental observation, to the satisfaction and multiplication of concrete wants" is "the greatest single discovery ever

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2012

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