Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Belief systems

Michael Freeden on democracy:

All belief systems, even the most rationally inclined, contain components based on extra-rational preferences. It is quite plausible to view our attachment to democracy as a question of sentiment as much as of intellect. To be specific, the notion of democracy contains instrumentally rational preferences for certain decision-making processes (by comparing them to others in terms of outcomes, for instance), but it also contains non- or pre-rational preferences for weighting all individuals equally, based on cultural predilections and on social myths, not merely on moral considerations.

It's an interesting point, the equality of all individuals. Mill, of course, warned of the tyranny of the masses, and Nietzsche was condemnatory on the point. And yet, has a better system of dispensing power been created?

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