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Human Rights and Human Well-Being$
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William Talbott

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173482

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173482.001.0001

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Democratic Rights

Democratic Rights

Chapter:
(p.234) TEN Democratic Rights
Source:
Human Rights and Human Well-Being
Author(s):

William J. Talbott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173482.003.0010

This chapter contrasts his consequentialist account of democratic rights with prominent nonconsequentialist accounts, including those of Rawls, Habermas, Barry, and Waldron. He explains why majority rule itself requires a consequentialist rationale. To illustrate that the rationale for democratic rights is consequentialist, the chapter proposes an alternative to democratic rights, election by deliberative poll, that would be an improvement under the main principle, were it not for the potential for abuse. Democratic rights are a solution to a CAP. To be endorsed by the main principle, democratic rights must equitably promote the life prospects of all compliers and nonresponsible noncompliers. The chapter argues that group rights or cultural rights are not fundamental rights, but rather rights that are instrumental to protecting the individual rights of members of minorities against majorities. The chapter shows that the main principle can explain why human rights, including democratic rights, should be inalienable. This is a puzzle on many nonconsequentialist views. The chapter describes one kind of problem that no form of government, not even democracy, is very good at solving, the time lag problem. Finally, the chapter discusses the inappropriateness of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning campaign finance reform laws on free speech grounds.

Keywords:   Brian Barry, campaign financing, claim of first-person authority, cultural rights, deliberative polling, democratic rights, James Fishkin, Jürgen Habermas, ideal procedure theories, inalienable rights, judicial review, main principle, majority rule, John Rawls, Jeremy Waldron

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