The deontological defense of democracy: An argument from group rights

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (3):279-293 (2008)
Abstract
Abstract: Democracy is regularly heralded as the only form of government that treats political subjects as free and equal citizens. On closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that democracy unavoidably restricts individual freedom, and it is not the only way to treat all citizens equally. In light of these observations, we argue that the non-instrumental reasons to support democratic governance stem, not from considerations of individual freedom or equality, but instead from the importance of respecting group self-determination. If this is correct, it implies that a state may choose democracy, but its right to self-determination means that it is also free, in principle, to decide in favor of some nondemocratic alternative.
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