Of those that turns out to be harder to draw when one

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of those that turns out to be harder to draw when one looks closely, it is one thing (say) to enjoy formally equal rights to participate in decision-making, but another to actually receive the substantive treatment appropriate to 217 Democratic rule
one’s standing as a civic equal. For example, members of minority groups might enjoy a formally equal right to participate in democratic elections under the principle of ‘‘one person, one vote.’’ But clearly this is not sufficient to prevent winning majorities from denying to members of the minority groups whatever civil liberties and economic opportunities are necessary for them to enjoy genuine substantive equality. Guaranteeing substantive equality thus seems to require principled limits on the scope of democratic procedures. So, even if we accept egalitarian conceptions of justice, it is unlikely that they provide unqualified support for formally egalitarian democratic arrangements. In reply one might still insist that, even if not sufficient , equal inclusion in decision-making is necessary to meet the requirements of egalitarian justice. The problem here, though, is that the relevant notion of equal inclusion is hopelessly ambiguous and admits of an indeterminate range of interpreta- tions, from the unduly weak to the implausibly strong. At the weak end of the spectrum we have: one (adult) person, (at least) one vote. (Even Mill accepted this principle.) Other (increasingly strong) interpretations include: one adult, (no more than) one vote; one adult, (no more than) one vote plus a meaningful range of options over which to choose; one adult, (no more than) one vote plus an equal right to run for office; equal liability to be called up by lot to hold office; an equal right to veto (legislation? consti- tutional provisions?); equal consideration (or representation?) of individ- uals’ interests (by whom?) . . . Here again we must face up to the sheer diversity and complexity of possible democratic arrangements. Is it clear that any of these forms of ‘‘equal inclusion’’ is strictly necessary for true civic equality, and that if some are, they demand procedures that we would on reflection want to call democratic? 14 The conflict-resolution argument One might think that this penultimate argument does not really raise any philosophical issues because it hinges on simple empirical judgments about the preconditions for political stability. If true, this is bad news for the argument, for, given the enormous number of very undemocratic regimes 14 For a fuller discussion of political equality, see Beitz (1989). 218 An Introduction to Political Philosophy
that have stably persisted for long historical periods, it is surely impossible to believe on purely empirical grounds that democratic arrangements are in any sense necessary or even advisable for political stability.

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