To Articulate This Moment

By PAUL SCHWEIKER On November 4th, our nation was brought face to face with two manifestations of its own ideals in the emotionally charged election of Barack Obama. Although there has been significant discussion about the election’s implications on race relations, I believe Obama’s election more broadly indicates that our culture is experiencing a democratic moment, and that Obama has become an effective embodiment of this moment by occupying a position from which he can affect the course of social change. Before I can explain the implications of this moment and Obama’s position, I must explain what a democratic moment … Continue reading To Articulate This Moment

The Importance of Liberty from a Fiscal Perspective

By CUONG NGUYEN After the results of the 2008 Presidential Election I believe it’s important for us to consider our basic notions of democracy and the democratic process that comes with it.  With Barack Obama as our President-elect, many people believe he will bring about the positive “change” needed in the United States.  But what is this “change?”  It was in 1776 when our founding fathers gathered together to draw out and construct the basic guidelines of our democratic society.  Since then it has been 202 years since the inception of our Constitution and I believe many people have lost … Continue reading The Importance of Liberty from a Fiscal Perspective

Proposition 8 and The Harm Principle

By MOLLY SHIPMAN Election Day 2008 was defined by many landmark and surprising decisions by the American people. However, my excitement and pride in being part of the democratic process was somewhat undermined when I learned that California voters’ decided to pass Proposition 8, a state ballot proposition that amended the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. John Stuart Mill’s arguments concerning personal autonomy and the role of government, as outlined in his seminal work On Liberty, were not far from my mind as I contemplated how this disturbing … Continue reading Proposition 8 and The Harm Principle

The Problem of Utility and Democracy

By MIN SHIN Unlike Joshua Cohen and Thomas Christiano who argue that in ideal government institutions, justice and democracy are purely intrinsic; Richard Arneson’s paper on Democratic Rights at the National Level partakes in the conception of justice and democratic rights from an instrumental standpoint.  He argues that a protective account of democratic rights provides the most natural and convincing justification of modern political regimes.  Throughout his paper, Arneson argues for the instrumental view of social institutions because in pluralist societies, this particular view of justice and democracy brings about appropriate and just results.  This substantially differs from Cohen and … Continue reading The Problem of Utility and Democracy