Thursday, December 8, 2011

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Some say democracy is born out of revolution – a rejection of totalitarianism. Be that as it may, democracy seems to face a legitimation crisis because it lacks any foundation for living together. What do you think about a social contact of fairness based on reason and respect filling the lack?


Joshua said...

A foundation for living together seems to be a demand by social contract theory. If democracy lacks legitimation, it's due to the lack of responsibility by the people and lack of accountability in that regard. The people have simply not proven themselves up to the task.

But we as humans are also disrespectful and unfair. And to extent we're also unreasonable. So I think grounding fairness in reason is akin to waving a hand and magically declaring something so, which seems unreasonable itself and probably why we humans do it so frequently.

However, respect does go along way towards peacefully living together, which makes the job of governing that much easier.

Greg said...

Thanks. Good points! People (us) are indeed part of the legitimation crisis. For fairness, based on reason and respect to work, the playing field would have to be leveled, and that's unlikely to happen any time soon. Though, contractarians, like Rawls, talk about a hypothetical contract that could be negotiated behind the veil of ignorance to give a basis for fairness. Seems idealistic and individualistic. Foundations for living together, whatever they might be, would have to be more realistic and community orientated.