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2005-02-17

NYC 

Below you will see pictures two, three, and four in the history of this blog, so stay tuned. Picture two shows the shade of your correspondent being processed on Ellis Island, in front of the Statue of Liberty, which had its unbecoming rightward tilt corrected. Blessings of the digital age. Picture three has some orange. On the upside, the orange cloth is surprisingly strong and structured. On the downside, it really is some kind of festival, thousands of New Yorkers and tourists engaged in a rather pointless kind of mass rally in favour of nothing. It's not just gates, it's crowds streaming under gates. Picture four shows big-and-strikingly-beautiful Cosmopolis (Manhattan-novel of same title by Don DeLillo was read by correspondent on the plane for self-indoctrination). What really kills me are the hundreds of stretch limos. In the book, 28-year old billionaire Eric is driving in one through Manhattan to get a hair-cut. Melman, his chief of finance, joins him in the car, interrupting her running, and remarks:
"All these limos, my god, that you can't tell one from another."
He narrowed his eyes and nodded.
"We could be kids on prom night," she said, "or some dumb wedding wherever. What's the charm of identical?"
He glanced out the window, speaking softly, so cool to the subject that he had to deliver his remark to the steel and glass out there, the indifferent street.
"That I'm a powerful person who chooses not to demarcate his territory with singular driblets of piss is what? Is something I need to apologize for?"
Also plane-read a book by Princeton political scientists Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson, "Why Deliberative Democracy?"
Most fundamentally, deliberative democracy affirms the need to justify decisions made by citizens and their representatives. Both are expected to justify the laws they would impose on one another. In a democracy, leaders should therefore give reasons for their decisions, and respond to the reasons that citizens give in return. (p.3)
A second characteristic of deliberative democracy is that the reasons given in this process should be accessible to all the citizens to whom they are addressed. To justify imposing their will on you, your fellow citizens must give reasons that are comprehensible to you. If you seek to impose your will on them, you owe them no less.(p.4)
The approach has its roots in Habermas and Rawls, and Gutmann & Thompson's case is a strong one, although it is clear that the rival account 'Aggregative Democracy' is encountered frequently in practice and has its own merits, which are related to the Posner quote I praised in an earlier post.
The deliberative conception, as we have indicated, considers the reasons that citizens and their representatives give for their expressed preferences. It asks for justifications. The aggregative conception, by contrast, takes the preferences as given... It requires no justification for the preferences themselves, but seeks only to combine them in various ways that are efficient and fair. (p.13)
Ok, so here are the pictures:
Liberty

The Gates

Cosmopolis


1 comments:

I love Vienna. The best to you.

I invite you to visit my blog and to study the Bible with me.

Terry Finley
http://clearcutbiblestudies.blogspot.com/
 
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