Deliberation and Decision-Making: The Potential Renewal of the Idea of Aristocracy

AutorPedro José Izquierdo
CargoLicenciado en Derecho por la Universidad de Navarra, 2008
Páginas51-76
Ius Humani. Revista de Derecho
Vol. 3 (2012-2013), enero 2013, págs. 51-75. ISSN: 1390-440X – eISSN: 1390-7794
Ius Humani, v. 3 (2012/13), p. 51
REASON AND DEMOCRACY: THE POTENTIAL
RENEWAL OF THE IDEA OF ARISTOCRACY
RAZÓN Y DEMOCRACIA: LA POTENCIAL RENOV ACIÓN DEL CONCEPTO DE
ARISTOCRACIA
Pedro José Izquierdo*
Resumen: Existe una relación entre diferentes clases de discusión y los
roles que ésta juega en las instituciones del gobierno representativo. Es
posible distinguir tres tipos de discusión, que caen en una escala
decreciente según su afinidad con estándares racionales de toma de
decisiones. El argumento es que mientras más se ajuste una discusión a
estándares racionales, menos democrática será. Esta tensión entre
democracia y discusión racional es en realidad la tensión entre
democracia y aristocracia, y sugiere un camino para reintroducir la
aristocracia como concepto significativo hoy. Sólo admitiendo la
naturaleza aristocrática de la discusión racional es posible preservar el
carácter democrático de una institución.
Palabras clave: Democracia, representación, discusión, razón,
aristocracia
Abstract: There is a relationship between different kinds of discussion
and the roles they play in the institutions of representative democracy.
Three kinds of discussion are distinguished, which fall on a scale of
decreasing attunement to rational standards of decision-making. It is
argued that the more discussions are attuned to rational standards, the
less democratic they become. This tension between rational discussion
* Licenciado en Derecho por la Universidad de Navarra, 2008. LL.M. en New
York University School of Law, 2012 (Estados Unidos). Doctorando de la
Universidad de Navarra (España). pj.izquierdo@gmail.com
Pedro José Izquierdo
Ius Humani, v. 3 (2012/13), p. 52
and democracy is in fact the tension between aristocracy and
democracy, and suggests a way in which aristocracy may be
reintroduced as a meaningful concept today. Acknowledging the
aristocratic quality in rational discussion preserves an institution’s
democratic character.
Key words: Democracy, representation, discussion, reason, aristocracy
Fecha de recepción: 1-7-2012
Fecha de aceptación: 21-05-2012
I. INTRODUCTION
Most modern conceptions of democratic political systems
are linked with the idea of representative government, such that
what is said to characterize a democratic regime is that it contains
in its center an organ of power composed of a group of people
who have been elected by the populace at large to be their voice
and to exercise their will for them in the business of government.
In this picture there are two key elements that I want to stress:
first, that representative democracy implies the existence of an
assembly, a group of representatives, in which the main political
powers are vested; and second, that representation is ascertained
through an electoral process, whereby the people select from
among themselves those who, in representing them, will exercise
their lawmaking powers. A representative assembly appointed
through popular election, therefore, is at the center of our modern
conception of democracy. The assembly acts as the link between
the demos and the exercise of political power.

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