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Equality and Legitimacy$
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Wojciech Sadurski

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545179.001.0001

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Political Equality and Majority Rule

Political Equality and Majority Rule

Chapter:
(p.41) 2 Political Equality and Majority Rule
Source:
Equality and Legitimacy
Author(s):

Wojciech Sadurski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545179.003.0002

This chapter claims that the intuitive and widespread legitimating power of majority rule (MR) arises from the link between majority rule and the principle of equality of political opportunity. The egalitarian character of MR is established by exploring ‘puzzles’ in democratic theory, such as the insensitivity of democratic voting procedures to unequal intensity of citizens' preferences, the inalienability of voting rights, and the relationship between the principle of unanimity (sometimes thought better to respect citizens' equality) and MR. Special attention is directed to the relationship between political equality and equality in the outcomes of political decisions: the claim is made that the language of equal political opportunity captures well the idea of equal political influence, in the circumstance of disagreement about what is required to achieve equal treatment through the outcomes of political decisions.

Keywords:   equality, equality of opportunity, voting, democratic theory, political legitimacy, Ronald Dworkin

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