Contemporary Democratic Theory: America And American Identity

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Demetrian D. Davis Contemporary Democratic Theory Final Paper Democracy is the foundation of America and American identity. Although it is Democracy that holds this country together, many differ on how Democracy currently works and how it should work. Scholars such as Michael Sandel believes that boundaries and restrictions on human nature should be dropped from democracy and the open discussion of morality and religion, all that affects ad shapes man, should be a part of political deliberation. John Rawls’ believes that the solution to America’s differing religions and moral convictions should be to create a mutual definition of justice which we all operate from. Rawls not only states that we should create our own idea of justice but…show more content…
Sandel argues that Democracy attempts to be grounded in this neutral state which allows tolerance of many religious and moral convictions and thus excludes the influences that our individual moral and religious convictions have upon us in political debate. Sandel’s first attacks this way of democracy by claiming the principles of a liberal democracy are moral convictions; freedom, tolerance, and equality are all moral convictions based in Liberalism. Since Liberalism states it respects all values, making no moral judgments, but has principles which are moral values it has created a contradiction within itself and cannot be used as a governing philosophy. He then continues to state that a person cannot separate their moral convictions from themselves in debate and should not. Humans’ personalities and way of life is greatly influenced by our moral convictions so to have discussion about how humans should live together without taking into consideration what shapes us, is not only a mistake, but it is impossible. Sandel is thus claiming that what current democracy is attempting to do is impossible and causes a paradox which creates unrest within the people. He suggests this is fixed by encouraging open deliberation as a part of the political process. What causes this deliberation to be open is that there is discussion about…show more content…
Sandel suggest discarding the whole culture of hiding moral convictions from debate because it is unnatural. This suggestion seems to be heading along the right path to creating a more reflective democracy. He is essentially asking for a “free market place of ideas” to ensue and that people will be swayed by truth and conviction. Sandel is very invested in discussing the purpose, the core of things and this leading us to a better form of democratic debate. It is a very ideal way of government and would require a high degree of autonomy on the part of the citizens and it would most likely cause slow progress. While Sandel does present a solution that would stay true to the purpose of democracy it is not economic and most likely fail. For a people to exist together there must be something which defines them and at the core causes for a mutual desire to be one, John Rawls’ discusses this in his article “Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical”. He argues that justice as a political concept needs to be about fairness. Rawls says that the definition of justice and fairness should not derive from any religion but should be a definition that the American people agree upon. He claims that since the people would have created this idea of justice and all agree

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