Democratic Autonomy: Public Reasoning about the Ends of Policy
What would our decision-making procedures look like if they were actually guided by the much-discussed concept of "deliberative democracy"? What does rule by the people for the people entail? And how can a modern government's reliance on administrative agencies be reconciled with this populist ideal? What form must democratic reasoning take in the modern administrative state?
Democratic Autonomy squarely faces these challenges to the deliberative democratic ideal. It identifies processes of reasoning that avert bureaucratic domination and bring diverse people into political agreement. To bridge our differences intelligently, Richardson argues, we cannot rely on instrumentalist approaches to policy reasoning, such as cost-benefit analysis. Instead, citizens must arrive at reasonable compromises through fair, truth-oriented processes of deliberation. Using examples from programs as diverse as disability benefits and environmental regulation, he shows how the administrative policy-making necessary to carrying out most legislation can be part of our deciding what to do. Opposing both those liberal theorists who have attacked the populist ideal and those neo-republican theorists who have given up on it, Richardson builds an account of popular rule that is sensitive to the challenges to public deliberation that arise from relying on liberal constitutional guarantees, representative institutions, majority rule, and administrative rulemaking.
Written in a nontechnical style and engaged with practical issues of everyday politics, this highly original and rigorous restatement of what democracy entails is essential reading for political theorists, philosophers, public choice theorists, constitutional and administrative lawyers, and policy analysts.
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accept action administrative agency instrumentalism agreement Amy Gutmann argued argument Arrow's impossibility theorem articulate aspect basis bureaucratic domination Cambridge University Press chapter citizens claim collective commitments conception concern constitutional constraint context cost-benefit analysis debate decision deep compromise deliberative democracy democracy as democratic democratic autonomy democratic deliberation democratic reasoning disabled discussion epistemic Estlund fair procedures final ends free and equal freedom fundamental Geoffrey Brennan Harvard University Hence idea ideal important individuals institutions interpretation involved issue John Rawls joint intentions Jon Elster kind legislative legislature legitimate liberal liberal democracy liberty majority rule means mutual negative liberty nonarbitrary power normative participants Pettit Philip Pettit Philosophy political process populist possibility practical reasoning preferences problem proposal public reasoning question rational Rawls reflection relevant representative republican requires respect risk rule of law rulemaking simply social choice specifying substantive Theory of Justice tion transportation truth truth-oriented views voting