democratic and anti-democratic

Sean Wilson whoooo26505 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 30 14:15:31 PST 2005


(2) is not important. It is clearly uninteresting. Whether mass lay opinion is maximized or intelligently structured within a certain pluralistic confine is not something critical as far as democratic morality goes. 
 
(1) is where you are simply deploying improper logic. It is as if you have just said this: the only way to call a person a "person" is if he or she is emancipated. Hence, a person in an embryonic state or in childhood couldn't meet the definition. The problem is that you do not understand that democracy as an ethic is DEVELOPMENTAL. Taking a democratic regime's accomplishments and using it as a basis to deny the legitimacy of the genesis of the regime's ideal is simply an historical fallacy. It's called by historians being "presentistic." It actually is a bias of some sort. Saying the constitutional regime we live under TODAY is not "democratic" because, in effect, the process that approved it had not yet seen the benefits of the the democratization movement that took 100s of years in its future (is it finalized yet? urban voters have longer lines) is simply being presentistic.
 
 Look at it this way: would you say that the wright brothers didn't fly in an airplane if you found out that the vehicle couldn't climb or descend like real planes could? Would you say that in colonial times there were no real roads because they were not paved? Would you say that the American revolution wasn't really fought with firearms because their weapons did not meet the current statutory definition of a firearm? 
 
Tell me something: did all the surgeons back then commit malpractice?   
 
If you answer yes to these questions, you see the problem you are committing.

Malla Pollack <mpollack at uidaho.edu> wrote:


To me, the only acceptable bases for currently (as in this listserv discussion today) labeling the US Constitution “democratic” would be either (i) it won election support from the current population in a democratic election, or (ii) it allows issues (other than the structure of government already set by the Constitution) to be decided by democratic means.  In my opinion, neither is true, though the second is less false than the first.   If you want to discuss this claim, go ahead. 


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