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contractualist OP t1_j4ksraj wrote

I actually think power distribution and enshrining national values are the best arguments for democracy and I’ll be discussing them in a future posts. Yet these are only good to the extent they lead to good decisions.

If power distribution instead lead to factionalism rent seeking, or poor policymaking overall, and if a better method of policymaking was available, then we’d be better off with that other method instead.

For instance, international data shows that a more independent central bank leads to lower inflation. If we cared about lower inflation, we should give more discretion to a central bank rather than elected politicians in creating monetary policy.


shockingdevelopment t1_j4l8lfp wrote

The rational / best solution is a matter of values, not intellect. I'd like you to take a stab at that problem.

And who exactly decides? What kind of person is worthy? Philosopher kings?


contractualist OP t1_j4la0wm wrote

One’s religious, artistic, or personal values can’t have any political authority over others who don’t share those values. What has political authority is reason, more specifically, those principles which can’t be reasonably rejected. Those are our moral principles, which any legitimate political and legal institution needs to be based on.

And it would be either private parties or experts (judges, admin agencies, etc.). Although this power would be based on degrees rather than purely categorical. There are instances where reason would require majority rule vs expert judgment.

I’ll be writing in article discussing this further that addresses the trustee vs delegate issue.


ProfMittenz t1_j4lknen wrote

So this sounds like Rawl's argument from Political Liberalism, but even Rawls changed his mind, see "Public Reason Revisited." Excluding personal or religious reasons from public deliberation is just a way of imposing a set of moral values on a democratic public without/before the process of democracy. Wolterstorff talks about this in his book with Robert Audi. A really good take down of this point of view is Christopher Eberle, Religious Conviction in liberal politics. Check out the sep article on public reason and all of the criticisms. Even the arch rationalist Habermas changed his mind about religious reasons in the public square.

I think your best bet is to go with including everybody and all their reasons in the most robust democratic deliberation possible. Go with an epistemic defense of democracy that argues the legitimacy of democracy comes from its epistemic ability to identify and solve social problems. Check out Helene Landemore and David Estlund. Epistemic democracy is a super hot topic right now and I think it makes the best argument for Democratic legitimacy.


contractualist OP t1_j4lo65c wrote

Thank you for the recommendations! I will review that literature and will incorporate those ideas into my next post.

I agree with Rawls's original formulation of Public Reason since I believe certain moral values should be imposed on constitutional deliberation for political authority to be legitimate. This means that religious/aesthetic based arguments would be excluded from deliberation.

I argue in the piece that epistemic defenses of democracy are also insufficient. The empirical literature on deliberative democracy is weak and given certain anti-market/identitarian biases of the public (Caplan 2007 and Bartels and Achen 2017 respectively). This is why I believe experts should play a greater role as lawmaking demands more complexity.


ProfMittenz t1_j4lq6no wrote

If you want to go with the old school.Rawlsian position, Jonathan Quong would be useful for you. But I think that position has been pretty roundly rejected for its antidemocratic implications. Two other things: "deliberative democracy" is an umbrella term that basically encompasses all democratic theory these days. It just means that deliberation is at the heart of political legitimacy but in lots of different forms (so this includes Rawls and political liberalism). Also I wouldnt be so quickly dismissive.of epistemic democracy. The first citation you gave is from 2007 and epistemic democracy theory has really exploded since then. Some of what you sound like you're arguing is in fact for epistocracy or rule by experts, but if you read Helene landemore, she utilizes the "diversity Trump's ability theorem" which claims that a plurality of thinkers are better at solving problems than a small group of experts. The diversity approach also helps solve the problem of who counts as an expert since in a democracy we all have to debate who the expert is anyway.


shockingdevelopment t1_j4lg43j wrote

I don't mean aesthetic values, I mean fundamental politics. I.e. hierarchy vs egalitarianism. The left and right can both make rational arguments for these opposing values. How do you decide if the experts should push left or right wing policy?

I would say democratically.


contractualist OP t1_j4lhipv wrote

Yes, I wrote in another comment that values and power distributions are the best arguments for democracy.

I’ll be arguing that democracy is useful for establishing these overarching values where the moral principles of the social contract are ordered in terms of priority. These are the values of a society which may be expressed through voting. Although this is different than policy making, which turns those national political values into concrete legal rules. The former applies moral principles to social and cultural circumstances to create constitutional values whereas the latter applies those constitutional values to social facts to create legal rules. Yet reason is applied in both cases. Values that can’t be publicly justified aren’t values that have political authority.


shockingdevelopment t1_j4liy59 wrote

That just sounds like most democracies today. The public guide meta ethics and (theoretically) experts develop policy to further our community's choices.


contractualist OP t1_j4ln7a7 wrote

That's what I argue it should be. Yet from a US standpoint, too much discretion is currently given to democratic majorities and legislative action. At the end of the piece, I argue that courts and agencies should play a greater role in curbing the actions of majorities when they conflict with reason.


fjaoaoaoao t1_j4ln34y wrote

I definitely think an expansion of how reason and values are formed, agreed upon as worthwhile, and adapted to changing times could help further the thoughts you shared in your article more. Looking forward to more!


XiphosAletheria t1_j4nh6qb wrote

>One’s religious, artistic, or personal values can’t have any political authority over others who don’t share those values. What has political authority is reason, more specifically, those principles which can’t be reasonably rejected. Those are our moral principles, which any legitimate political and legal institution needs to be based on.

This just sounds like you lack self-awareness of your own biases. Because all moral principles are at base personal preferences. Politics is always about whose values get to be imposed on everyone and justified as "reasonable". Religion only fell out of favor as a good source of such values because society changed to quickly to keep up, and so it lost too many adherents to make its influence stick.