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June 20, 2008



An example of "authoritarian deliberation" is the type of discussions that happen in your typical corporation. Most people working in a corporation have very little ability to actually influence who their supervisors are or fundamentally change the structure of the corporation. However, they do often have the ability to engage in quite heated discussions about what the corporation should do.

Whether or not, "authoritarian deliberation" is a substitute for "democratic deliberation" depends largely on your value system, although one should point out that what one sees a lot in democracies is less deliberation than pseudo-deliberation. Something that gives the illusion of discussion without any real substantive discussion. One thing that is interesting about the internet is that it actually possible more true deliberation.

Also in deliberative settings, the real power goes to the people that set the agenda and who decide what is to be discussed and what isn't. Deliberation takes a lot of time and effort, and if you are talking about issue A, you aren't talking about issue B.

The other thing that I'd like to point out is that I think that there is a much smaller difference between "authoritarian deliberation" and "democratic deliberation" than there is between "authoritarian deliberation" and "totalitarianism." If you have "authoritarian deliberation" ideologically, you have to accept the notion that the state isn't perfect or perhaps even perfectible and that disagreement between people is legitimate.

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