Deliberative Democracy Essay

1553 WordsJan 17, 20157 Pages
‘A properly functioning democracy requires public deliberation.’ Explore and assess this assertion. This essay will argue that public deliberation is an absolutely essential requirement within a properly functioning democracy and in order to assert this belief this essay will assess and explore the Deliberative and Aggregative models of democracy and the work of the key thinkers in this area of democratic political theory. This essay will also provide definitions of Deliberative and Aggregative democracy and will illustrate the merits of public deliberation by providing real world examples from across the democratic system. Abraham Lincoln described democracy as ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’. For the likes of Lincoln, Pericles and Thomas Paine it is a denial of the democratic ideal to assert that democracy should centre around the activity of political leaders and that, once elected, such leaders should be left alone to take the important decisions on our behalf. Proponents of this aggregative model of democracy, such as Max Weber, argue that, ‘Democracy means the people electing a leader and then that leader telling the people to shut up’. Aggregative democracy treats citizens largely as voters whose preferences are already given and merely need to be aggregated through the mechanisms of electoral representation. Indeed there are currently many citizens of the Banbridge District Council area who believe that their local Councillors have adopted Weber’s view to democracy as little or no public deliberation takes place on important Council issues in between elections. This essay argues that the decision by the Council to unilaterally reduce the collection of ‘Black bins’ from once a fortnight to once a month without any public deliberation is a very localised example of Weber’s view of democracy. The outcome of such an

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