Is deliberative democracy really "democratic"

Tony Curzon Price
Tony Curzon Price
14 August 2007

I happened to be re-reading Professor John Dunn's excellent 2005 article on what democracy is good for and what it isn't much good for and I was struck by the concluding paragraph:

Less steadily and on far less egalitarian terms, it [democracy] also provides a framework through which to explore together what people should and should not attempt to do as a community. Virtually none of the elements of an answer to that question can come from democracy as an idea. Almost all have to be pieced together arduously from somewhere else.

The current fashion for deliberative democracy: is it really about democracy, or is it about educating the voters because of the fear of democracy? As Professor Dunn also drily points out in that article:

Crudely speaking, the political appeal of democracy lies in its claim to realise political equality. (So, soberly speaking, does its potential political menace.)



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