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of those that turns out to be harder to draw when one looks closely, it is onething (say) to enjoyformallyequal rights to participate in decision-making,but another to actually receive thesubstantivetreatment appropriate to217Democratic rule
one’s standing as a civic equal. For example, members of minority groupsmight enjoy a formally equal right to participate in democratic electionsunder the principle of ‘‘one person, one vote.’’ But clearly this is notsufficient to prevent winning majorities from denying to members of theminority groups whatever civil liberties and economic opportunities arenecessary for them to enjoy genuinesubstantiveequality. Guaranteeingsubstantive equality thus seems to require principled limits on the scopeof democratic procedures. So, even if we accept egalitarian conceptions ofjustice, it is unlikely that they provide unqualified support for formallyegalitarian democratic arrangements.In reply one might still insist that, even if notsufficient, equal inclusion indecision-making isnecessaryto meet the requirements of egalitarian justice.The problem here, though, is that the relevant notion of equal inclusion ishopelessly ambiguous and admits of an indeterminate range of interpreta-tions, from the unduly weak to the implausibly strong. At the weak end ofthe spectrum we have: one (adult) person, (at least) one vote. (Even Millaccepted this principle.) Other (increasingly strong) interpretations include:one adult, (no more than) one vote; one adult, (no more than) one vote plusa meaningful range of options over which to choose; one adult, (no morethan) one vote plus an equal right to run for office; equal liability to becalled 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 sheerdiversity and complexity of possible democratic arrangements. Is it clearthat any of these forms of ‘‘equal inclusion’’ is strictly necessary for truecivic equality, and that if some are, they demand procedures that we wouldon reflection want to call democratic?14The conflict-resolution argumentOne might think that this penultimate argument does not really raise anyphilosophical issues because it hinges on simple empirical judgments aboutthe preconditions for political stability. If true, this is bad news for theargument, for, given the enormous number of very undemocratic regimes14For a fuller discussion of political equality, see Beitz (1989).218An Introduction to Political Philosophy
that have stably persisted for long historical periods, it is surely impossibleto believe on purely empirical grounds that democratic arrangements arein any sense necessary or even advisable for political stability.