Too many, in Richard Posner’s view, want to remake democracy with the faculty workshop as their model. Such deliberation has demanding requirements for popular participation in the democratic process, including a high level of knowledge and analytical sophistication and an absence, or at least severe curtailment, of self-interested motives.
That is before we consider the considerable evidence that political deliberation polarises opinion rather than brings us together.
The basic elements of Ackerman’s proposal for ‘Deliberation Day’ are as follows:
- one week before major national elections, registered voters would be invited to meet in neighborhood meeting places (such as schools) for one day, to deliberate on the central issues raised in the election campaign;
- this Deliberation Day would become a national holiday and deliberators would be paid $150 for their attendance, provided they showed up at the polls the next week;
- deliberators would first meet in small groups of 15 to listen to a live TV debate between the principal candidates and to identify questions for discussion at a later plenary session of 500 people with local party representatives present to answer questions; and
- deliberators would then reconvene in their small groups of 15 to share their reactions to the responses given by the party representatives to the plenary session.
An obvious advantage of this proposal would be…
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