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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can Direct Democracy Be Made Deliberative?

I've just uploaded to SSRN an invited Essay for Buffalo Law Review's annual "Essay Issue."  It looks like it will be a fun group of provocations.  If you are mostly familiar with my work on deliberative democracy, this will not be groundbreaking stuff -- though I make some connections to the field of statutory interpretation, which remained latent in my previous expositions of my views.  If you want an introduction, however, this is a quick and dirty way to get one without having to shell out for the books.

Posted by Ethan Leib on October 26, 2006 at 09:30 AM in Article Spotlight | Permalink


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"Can Direct Democracy Be Made Deliberative?"

I stopped reading right there. It's pretty silly to expect DD to be as deliberative as representational democracy. On the flip side, it's silly to expect RD to allow as many non-compromised opinions as DD. Each serves its purpose.

The idea that RD or DD should stand *by itself* as a form of government are both irresponsible in different ways. A truly responsible government incorporates both, so as to allow them to check each others weaknesses and add their unique benefits.


Posted by: gavin | Nov 10, 2006 5:38:03 PM

I'm not finished with your paper Ethan, but are you familiar with Swedish 'study circles'? Your proposal sounds very similar. I don't know much about them apart from this little book: Leonard P. Oliver, Study Circles: Coming Together for Personal Growth and Social Change (Washington, DC: Seven Locks Press, 1987). It's worth a look: nothing profound or theoretical, largely descriptive and impressionistic, still, makes some interesting points, especially for someone like me (as I grow older, I've grown a bit jaded about deliberative democracy proposals, but I try to keep an open mind).

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Oct 27, 2006 3:50:20 PM

Exquisite timing: I recently expressed my distaste for the increased use of the referendum and initiative process in California over at Jurisdynamics at a post by Dan Farber on Prop. 90 on our ballot. And at Concurring Opinions I brought up Robert Goodin's proposal in his book, Reflective Democracy (2003), for complementing 'external' democratic deliberation with what he provocatively terms 'internal-reflective' democratic deliberation. Anyway, while sympathetic to the pro-deliberative democracy literature, I share concerns raised by Elster and Goodin, among others. I look forward to reading your paper.

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Oct 26, 2006 9:41:37 AM

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