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ERIC Number: ED175775
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Pages: 33
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Moral Distinctiveness of Representative Democracy.
Kateb, George
The paper investigates the qualities which distinguish representative democracies from other forms of government, particularly direct democracies, dictatorships, and oligarchies. Representative democracy is based on the precept that political authority should be located in offices which are specified by a popularly ratified or accepted constitution and filled by contested elections. The hypothesis is that democratic values are morally superior to other political values. Representative democracy encourages citizens to adopt distinctive attitudes toward conduct, self-concept, and all authority in society as well as authority in political matters. Specific ways in which these attitudes are exemplified in a representative democracy include exhibiting independence of spirit in matters such as voting, engaging in conscientious dissent, and seeking political office; understanding all interactions which can to any degree be understood as political; and accepting moral indeterminacy. In general, although representative democracy is committed to respecting the boundaries of the individual and the related separation of the individual and society from the state, it encourages a high degree of interaction between the public and non-public sectors. It is concluded that representative democracy is the best way to preserve democratic values in modern societies which have become much too large and complex to sustain direct democratic forms of government. (DB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (Washington, D.C., August 31-September 3, 1979)