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Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of the Second Best

Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of the Second Best <p>Abstract:</p><p>In <i>Democracy When the People Are Thinking</i> Fishkin offers a wholehearted defense of the possibilities of realizing the democratic ideal of self-government within contemporary societies. However, there is a fundamental tension in the book between participatory and non-participatory interpretations of deliberative democracy. Although Fishkin defends the desirability of mass participation in a deliberative democracy, he also defends a non-participatory conception as our second-best option under non-ideal conditions. Against this proposal, I argue that it fails to take the so-called “problem of the second best” into account. Once we recognize this problem it becomes clear that, under non-ideal circumstances, the second-best option is not the improvement of some democratic values to the detriment of the others. To the contrary, our second-best strategy is to use institutional innovations such as Deliberative Polls with the aim of improving on all democratic values in ways that are optimally suited toward securing each of them.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of the Second Best

The Good Society , Volume 27 (1) – Dec 17, 2019

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-9731

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>In <i>Democracy When the People Are Thinking</i> Fishkin offers a wholehearted defense of the possibilities of realizing the democratic ideal of self-government within contemporary societies. However, there is a fundamental tension in the book between participatory and non-participatory interpretations of deliberative democracy. Although Fishkin defends the desirability of mass participation in a deliberative democracy, he also defends a non-participatory conception as our second-best option under non-ideal conditions. Against this proposal, I argue that it fails to take the so-called “problem of the second best” into account. Once we recognize this problem it becomes clear that, under non-ideal circumstances, the second-best option is not the improvement of some democratic values to the detriment of the others. To the contrary, our second-best strategy is to use institutional innovations such as Deliberative Polls with the aim of improving on all democratic values in ways that are optimally suited toward securing each of them.</p>

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Dec 17, 2019

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