Can Less Be More? Leftist Deliberative Democrats' Critique by Emily Hauptmann

By Emily Hauptmann

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Looking to high-level politics is consistent with one strand in deliberative theory that sees the proper home for delibera­ tion in the formal institutions of the sovereign state, such as courts, legislatures, and policy-making committees (for exam­ ple, Bessette, 1 994; Rawls, 1 997) . Institutions of this sort are of course thin on the ground in the international system. And as the German reunification example suggests, even when peak policy-making processes do exist, it is much easier to find deliberation across leaders in these sorts of locations than it is to find deliberative democracy.

The tension here arises because if discourses were readily manipulable by human agents then they would lack any independent order­ ing force of their own. But they are not manipulable at will. Human action takes place within the context that discourses provide: discourses themselves both enable and constrain actions. 10 Actions can draw on existing discourses, and so sub­ tly affect the content and relative weight of discourses. To use the language of Bourdieu ( 1 993), the structure of a discursive field constrains the positions that can be taken by actors but is itself reproduced by subsequent actions and interactions.

Substitute "civilization" for "bloc" and the result is Hunt­ ington's blueprint for how civilizations ought to interact: through pacts negotiated by their elites that give each civi­ lization segmental autonomy. Internally, civilizations consolidate their identity; while interactions across civiliza­ tional boundaries are kept to a minimum. No state should interfere in the internal affairs of another civilization. A per­ manent seat for each civilization in the United Nations Security Council is a form of minority veto.

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