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					             Democracy
       A complex response to a simple question

                “Who should rule?”




           Who wins an election?




                                                   Tories:
                                                  177,744

                                                 Liberals:
                                                 176,410




 Sometimes the Liberals stand to gain...

    2004             % vote               % seats

  Liberals              37                       44

Conservatives           30                       32

    NDP                 16                       6

   Green                4.3                      0




And sometimes the Conservatives stand
              to gain...
    2008             % vote               % seats

Conservatives           37                       46

  Liberals              26                       25

    NDP                 18                       12

   Green                 7                       0
       And like Shawn Graham in New Brunswick,
          sometimes the ‘wrong party’ wins...

        1999             % vote            % seats


   Conservatives              36              48



      Liberals                40              40




                      Objectives




     Explore three different ways democracy has been
     used and examine direct vs. indirect democracy




          democracy as contested term




     Does it mean anything anymore?
     What is its etymology?




“Democratic government means people freely chosen by
          and responsible to the governed”

                    John Plamenatz
    Democracy as sovereignty of the
              people?



Who are the people?
Who should rule?
What rules govern who should rule?




     Democracy as ‘majority rule’ or
           rule of groups?



 How do we balance competing minority interests
 with the interest of the whole?
 Can the majority be wrong?




      Democracy as having a moral
             justification




 based on ‘the general will’
 provide checks and balances on competing interests?




                      Summary...




 Sovereignty of the people
 majority rule or group rule
 moral justification
  Direct vs. representative democracy
         democracy as process




 Assumptions that underlie direct democracy




             Direct Democracy



avoids politicians             mob rule?
encourages participation?      role of expertise?
true reflection of public?      difficult to implement




   Our version of representative democracy
         is called liberal democracy




              liberal democracy




  personal freedom -- silence of the law
                    liberal democracy




    limited government




                liberal democracy




equality of right




                    liberal democracy




      consent of the governed




   Is liberalism a cause of our political malaise?
        Taylor’s malaise of modernity




  The ‘problem’ of individualism
     shutting out or being unaware of greater issues
     me generation? culture of narcissism? ipod culture?




        Taylor’s malaise of modernity


The primacy of instrumental reason
   faith in technology over humanity
   means over ends




        Taylor’s malaise of modernity



  Alienation
     ‘soft despotism’: Tocqueville
     ‘enclosed in their own hearts’ means no participation in
     government




    problems in advanced democracies
          (according to Taylor)




                 hypertrophy
         Do we have too much of a good thing?
      problems in advanced democracies




    loss of meaning (fading of moral horizons)
    eclipse of ends
    loss of freedom




             What do these results tell us?




               What is to be done?



    The need for ‘strong democracy’
    civic education
    collective interests
    politics as an end in itself




              what are the solutions?



the need for real participation
how to get an engaged citizenry?
does pursuit of private interests = public good?
contradiction between representation and freedom
democracy is more than what we do during elections.




            Do we practice politics
              as ‘zoo keeping’?




 civil society as a ‘jungle’
 state to keep different species apart




            Do we practice politics
              as ‘zoo keeping’?




 consumer who is self-interested and acquisitive
 freedom to pursue the most banal ends




                      Solutions?

The importance of communication
 Strong democratic talk
    articulation of interests
    persuasion
    agenda setting
    exploring mutuality
    affiliation and affection
       What do these respond to?



that liberalism does not create the right kind of
community
   atomism

that liberalism does not create enough community




   How do we accomplish this?



Neighbourhood as public space
   Jane Jacobs and the failure of new urbanism
Democracy in the work place
Volunteerism




        Prospects for Democracy




“Man, by nature is a political animal,” Aristotle
In order to have good solutions, we need to ask
good questions.

				
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posted:11/2/2011
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