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2004-12-30

Misunderstanding of democracy 

Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, who also continues to teach at the University of Chicago Law School ... is, of course, best-known for his seminal work establishing economic analysis of law as the major intellectual event in American legal scholarship of the past thirty years. Over the last twenty years, he has also become recognized as one of the most important and influential federal judges in the United States.
This eminent man is guest-blogging at Leiter Reports (via Crooked Timber).

In his really thought-provoking first post, Richard Posner writes this paragraph:
Rawls and others have thought that religious beliefs shouldn’t be allowed to influence public policy, precisely because they are nondiscussable. But this view rests on a misunderstanding of democracy. Modern representative democracy isn’t about making law the outcome of discussion. It is not about modeling politics on the academic seminar. It is about forcing officials to stand for election at short intervals, and about letting ordinary people express their political preferences without having to defend them in debate with their intellectual superiors.
I believe that Posner here wonderfully captures the crux of modern democracy, and hints at what makes it so rewarding as a field of reflection or activity, beyond the appeal of many more theoretical, less 'dirty' subjects.


2 comments:

Thank you for the interesting link to the Leiter Reports! I did not know about that! More to come!
 

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