Debate on Democratic Government
Apr 21, 2003
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Richard Posner and Jamin Raskin debated the idea of what constitutes a good democratic government. Judge Posner is the author of Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy
, published by Harvard University Press. He argued .. Read More
Richard Posner and Jamin Raskin debated the idea of what constitutes a good democratic government. Judge Posner is the author of Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy, published by Harvard University Press. He argued that democratic governments work best when they are run by political elites ("specialists"), working through established governing institutions, with minimal input from the public. He says that humanity is made up of wolves (those who will fight to gain wealth and power) and sheep (those who are naturally subservient and politically uninterested), and that the goal is to create a system of government that will domesticate the wolves to serve the greater society of sheep. Professor Raskin is the author of Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court Versus the American People, published by Routledge. He supported the idea of “participatory democracy,” in which citizens play an active role in government. He argues that governing institutions cannot always be trusted to act in the interest of the general public (as was evidenced during the 2000 presidential election) and that constitutional amendments are required to guarantee that the public’s democratic rights are always protected. Professor Gerkin moderated the debate. Both authors answered questions from the audience following their remarks.