Should Brexit or Trump cause us to doubt our faith in democracy? Are ‘the people’ too ignorant or stupid to rule? Numerous commentators are seriously arguing that the answer to these questions might be ‘yes’. In this take-no-prisoners book, Canadian-Irish author Roslyn Fuller kicks these anti-democrats where it hurts the most – the facts. Fuller shows how many academics, journalists and politicians have embraced the idea that there can be ‘too much democracy’, and deftly unravels their attempts to end majority rule, whether through limiting the franchise, pursuing Chinese ‘meritocracy’ or confining participation to random legislation panels. She shows that Trump, Brexit or whatever other political event you may have disapproved of recently aren’t doing half the damage to democracy that elite self-righteousness and corruption are. In fact, argues Fuller, there are real reasons to be optimistic. Ancient methods can be combined with modern technology to revitalize democracy and allow the people to truly rule. In Defence of Democracy is a witty and energetic contribution to the debate on the future of democracy.
Introduction: Why This? Why Me? Why Now? Part One: The Terrible Truth: People Aren’t All That Stupid or Evil Objection One: Democracy Can’t Work Because People are Too Racist and Sexist Objection Two: People are Too Stupid for Democracy Objection Three: There’s No Point to Democracy Because People Don’t Know What Is Good For Them Anyway Objection Four: People are Just Too Crazy for Democracy to Work To Conclude Part Two: Fixing Politics the Anti-Democrat Way Section I Assorted Libertarian, Authoritarian and Explicitly Elitist Solutions Rule by the ‘Knowledgeable’ (Jason Brennan) Rule by the Deep State (Bryan Caplan) Rule by the Market (Ilya Somin) Long Live the Party! (Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes) Rule of the Superior (Daniel Bell) Section II Sortition: The False Democrats Participation Representation and Legitimacy Politics is Conflict Mediation Corruption Conclusions On Sortition Conclusions to Part Two Part Three: A World You Might Want to Actually Live In (Fuller Democracy) Five Principles for Transformational (but Responsible…) People Power 1. Shift to Online and En Masse 2. Pay-for-Participation 3. Focused, Outcome-Oriented Deliberation (Information, Isegoria and Conflict Resolution) 4. Precarious, Informal Leadership (but Leadership all the Same) 5. Sortition in its Proper Place Why It’s Worth It 1. People want Democracy 2. Fuller Democracy Solves a lot of Anti-Democrat Objections to Democracy 3. Writing a New Social Contract Final Words: Buckle-up Buttercup – The Future is Going to be Interesting
‘In an era when, remarkably, the merits of democracy seem to be up for debate, it is invaluable to have so many of the arguments of the anti-democrats dispelled so comprehensively. If you've ever felt like you needed the arguments to defend the ability of the people to govern themselves, you’ll find what you need here.’Robin McAlpine, Director of Common Weal ‘In Defence of Democracy offers us a preview of what democracy is about to become: much more representative, more direct, more digital, more local and transnational. A winning concept described by this winning writer. Get it! Read it!’Bruno Kaufmann, Democracy International "a valuable guide"Los Angeles Review of Books
Roslyn Fuller is Director of the Solonian Democracy Institute.
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