Democratic Values Defined

One thing I thought of is that “democratic values” is not the same thing as “democracy.” For example, the values of debate include critical thinking, free speech, academic achievement. If I say, does social media promote, “debate’s values,” that does not mean it promotes debate (or should or shouldn’t promote debate); it just means we’d examine if social media promotes critical thinking, education, etc., not whether or not it promotes debate.

List of core democratic values

Civitis, 1991, [Civitas: A Framework for Civic Education, a collaborative project of the

Center for Civic Education and the Council for the Advancement of Citizenship,

National Council for the Social Studies Bulletin No. 86, 1991,]

Core democratic values are the fundamental beliefs and Constitutional principles o American society, which unite all Americans. These values are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and other significan documents, speeches and writings of the nation.

Life: Each citizen has the right to the protection of his or her life.

Liberty: Liberty includes the freedom to believe what you want, freedom to choose your own friends, and to have your own ideas and opinions, to express your ideas in public, the right for people to meet in groups, the right to have any lawful job o business.

Pursuit of Happiness: Each citizen can find happiness in his or her own way, so long as he or she does not step on the rights of others.

Justice: All people should be treated fairly in getting advantages and disadvantages of our country. No group or person should be favored.

Common Good: Citizens should work together for the good of all. The government should make laws that are good for everyone.

Equality: Everyone should get the same treatment regardless of where their parents of grandparents were born, their race, their religion or how much money they have.

Citizens all have political, social and economic equality.

Truth: The government and citizens should not lie.

Diversity: Differences in language, dress, food, where parents or grandparents were born, race and religion are not only allowed but accepted as important.

Popular Sovereignty: The power of the government comes from the people.

Patriotism: This means having a devotion to our country and the core democratic values in what we say and what we do.

Source: Civitas: A Framework for Civic Education, a collaborative project of the

Center for Civic Education and the Council for the Advancement of Citizenship,

National Council for the Social Studies Bulletin No. 86, 1991.

Liberty, Equality, Justice  US History, no date,, d. Democratic Values — Liberty, Equality, Justice

Liberty and equality.

These words represent basic values of democratic political systems, including that of the United States. Rule by absolute monarchs and emperors has often brought peace and order, but at the cost of personal freedoms. Democratic values support the belief that an orderly society can exist in which freedom is preserved. But order and freedom must be balanced.

List of values

Pew Research, April 26, 2018,, 2. Views of American democratic values and principles

Value of democracy as a process (even perfect voting) can suppress individual rights

Corey Brettschneider, Professor, Brown University, 2006,  The value theory of democracy, Corey Brettschneider is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Taubman Center

for Public Policy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics,

The notion that individual rights are distinct from and often in tension with democracy is legion in the literature of liberal political theory.2 However, this view needs to be rethought. Many contemporary liberal theorists understand democracy as a set of procedures intended to manifest the ideal of rule by the people.3 According to this ‘p re procedural’ definition of democracy, an outcome is rightly characterized as democratic only when it is the result of a legitimate democratic process. In contrast, substantive individual rights, such as those that protect privacy and property and limit state punishment, are thought to be procedure-independent. Rights are distinct from democracy, according to these theorists, because they are linked to substantive values of justice. Furthermore, liberal theorists believe that because there are good reasons to respect these rights when they conflict with outcomes dictated by democratic procedure, the rights should be taken as more fundamental than democracy itself. Liberal theory, therefore, defends substantive rights on the grounds that they are not only distinct from, but also more fundamental than, democracy. The view that a theory of basic rights both has a root distinct from democracy and also constrains democracy is present in major historical and contemporary accounts of liberalism. It is implicit in Locke’s argument that natural property rights should constrain any theory of consent, as well as in liberal theories that tie rights to a concept of ‘intrinsic dignity’.4 Finally, a popular understanding of the substantive guarantees implicit in the Bill of Rights, such as the Eighth Amendment’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment, and of the doctrine of substantive due process elaborated in the 20th century, is that a general theory of justice must constrain a democratic polity if the latter is to be legitimate. The theoretical distinction between democracy and rights is also reflected in ordinary language. The term ‘democracy’ is often used to refer to majority decision-making. Rights violations, by contrast, are often associated with distinct moral principles of justice. The definitional implication would seem to be that democratic decisions could violate substantive individual rights. For instance, a polity could decide, democratically, to violate an individual’s privacy right.

Equality of interests, political autonomy, and reciprocity are the three core values of democracy

Corey Brettschneider, Professor, Brown University, 2006,  The value theory of democracy, Corey Brettschneider is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Taubman Center

for Public Policy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics,

Broadly, my aim is to demonstrate that a core set of substantive values implicitly underlies pure procedural theories of democracy. I articulate three core values of democracy: equality of interests, political autonomy, and reciprocity. These values are central to the ideal of democracy because they support the notion of democratic citizens as free, equal, and reasonable rulers. My thesis is that the core values require the guarantee of substantive individual rights as well as rights to participate in democratic procedures. I call this account the ‘value theory of democracy’. It is the ambition of the value theory of democracy to reconcile the ideal of self-government with the protection of substantive individual rights by appealing to a set of core values. However, unlike other attempts to reconcile these concerns, I do not appeal to an account of ideal procedures, but rather to a set of values that underlie the democratic ideal. But why begin with the premise that democracy itself is an ideal? Certainly, in life there are other relationships with more value than those rightly considered democratic. Love and friendship, for instance, are better candidates for ideal social relationships. While this might be correct, my ambition is not to assume democracy is the highest ideal of life, but rather to assume that it is the best way to understand the relationship between the state and its citizens and, more specifically, the best way to legitimize the state’s use of force. I proceed with the stipulation that the ideal of democracy is the most promising reference point for understanding political legitimacy.

 Democracy is not purely procedural

Corey Brettschneider, Professor, Brown University, 2006,  The value theory of democracy, Corey Brettschneider is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Taubman Center

for Public Policy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics,

Before I articulate the value theory of democracy, I will explore the flaws in commonly held accounts of democracy that are purely procedural.8 Pure proceduralists are characterized by their belief that a decision is democratically legitimate because it is produced by citizens participating in a fair procedure. According to such a view, there is nothing intrinsically democratic about such decisions, aside from the fact that they were produced by democratic procedures. Thus, pure proceduralists see no way to use a procedure-independent standard to evaluate the democratic legitimacy of an outcome. In contrast, my aim is to show that the democratic legitimacy of an outcome is rightly determined by its adherence to a set of democratic ideals. To demonstrate the feasibility of relying on such procedure-independent ideals, I explain why even procedural views implicitly appeal to a set of independent standards. I then demonstrate, in the next section, in what sense these standards are regarded as democratic and why the rights demanded by these standards are also properly considered democratic. I explore several theories that can be characterized as exclusively procedural, but suffer from a critical inconsistency. Despite their ostensibly pure proceduralism, such theories implicitly assume procedure-independent values, values whose presence they deny. I begin by critiquing what I regard as the weakest of these theories, majoritarianism, and then move on to more sophisticated variants. Perhaps the appeal of procedural accounts of democracy stems from the commonly held definition of democracy as majoritarianism, that is, the notion that the decisions of more than 50 percent of an entire polity are democratically binding for all. Belief in the fairness of majoritarianism is so deeply held that many might not see it as requiring a justification at all. But any good procedure, like any good theory, must have reasons and principles that support it. Majoritarianism must appeal to more than the self-evident validity of the proce dure. If we relied only on the intuition that majoritarianism is ‘common sense’, we would simply be using the procedure to validate itself. However, the principles that underlie the procedure of majority rule might come into conflict with the very procedure to which they give rise. For example,  imagine that the justification for majoritarianism is that it gives as many individuals as possible the ability to participate in political decision-making. In other words, this procedure both allows all citizens to have a voice in decision-making and offers resolution in the face of conflicting views. In this case, the justification of majoritarianism could easily conflict with outcomes of majority rule. Consider a case in which a majority disenfranchised one-quarter of the population. Here the justification of democracy, that it includes as many citizens as possible in an act of self-rule, conflicts with the results of majoritarian procedure. The result is a tension between the procedure and the reasons that underlie it. Accordingly, if it is not to be self-defeating, majoritarianism should recognize some limits on policy outcomes to ensure that its fundamental justification is not undermined. In response to challenges such as this, democratic theorists have developed more sophisticated theories of democracy. Some of these theories retain a commitment to majoritarian procedures as the core of democracy, while avoiding the mistakes of pure majoritarianism. One version of such a theory holds that democracy requires a procedural right of all to participate in democratic decisions as a ‘precondition’ of majority voting. This theory, therefore, avoids the the specific problem of disenfranchisement by recognizing that rule by the people means that no citizen, despite procedural decisions to the contrary, is excluded from the right to participate in the democratic procedure. Unlike pure majoritarianism, this view can explain why limiting the franchise based on race or gender is blatantly undemocratic: such a policy would deny some individuals and groups the basic rights of participation essential to democratic governance. But even this version of proceduralism, although it resolves the specific issue of disenfranchisement, contains a similar flaw to majoritarianism. Although it guarantees a right to vote, it does not ensure that participation is meaningful because it might allow for a crippling lack of preparation or education among citizens participating in the procedure. Part of the justification for majoritarianism is that it does not simply allow everyone to partake in decision-making, but it recognizes that all have an equal say in voting. Aristocratic voting procedures, for instance, which gave multiple votes to the educated, could be dismissed appropriately as undemocratic by majoritarians. But at the same time, merely to give an equal vote to some citizens who lack a capacity to make informed decisions could violate the principle of equality implicit in a democratic procedure. For instance, individuals guaranteed the right to vote might be denied information about the matters before them. For such persons, the concept of universal participation would have no worth. Because of the realization that participation must be meaningful, some prominent theorists have developed a view I call ‘rights as procedural preconditions’ to democracy. On this account, the preconditions necessary for citizens to participate as equals must be guaranteed in a legitimate democracy. Supporters of these theories often claim, therefore, that the rights they defend are procedural, not substantive, because they only serve to enable a good democratic procedure. Defenders of this view include Alexander Meiklejohn, who suggests that the right of free speech is a precondition for good democratic procedure.11 Similarly, John Hart Ely at times argues that a variety of rights, including the right to travel, are justified at least partially as necessary preconditions for democratic procedures, and thus are ‘democracy-reinforcing’.12 Others have advanced similar instrumental defenses of welfare rights. Without adequate means of subsistence, these theorists argue, one cannot go to the polls as an equal participant in democracy. For instance, Carole Pateman has argued on these grounds that an inalienable right to a basic income is essential to democratic citizenship.13 Another account suggests that even a right of privacy or decisional autonomy is necessary if citizens are to have the conceptual space to decide how best to cast their vote.14 All of these theorists argue that their frameworks are still procedural because they maintain the ideal of majoritarian procedure at the core of democracy. The identification of rights as procedural preconditions could be employed as a strategy for defending democratic individual rights. For two reasons, however  I find this view to be too weak a defense. First, it is possible that an empirical study could show that participation is causally unaffected by the preconditional rights these theorists have posited. The result of such a study would undermine purely preconditional defenses of democratic rights. Second, participants within a procedure who are guaranteed preconditional rights might make a decision to jettison the very rights they have been guaranteed. For instance, imagine that citizens participating in a procedure that guaranteed them a right to free speech as a precondition of voting decided that this right hindered their voting ability and thus decided to revoke it. Such a circumstance is problematic for the preconditional theorist because it forces her to claim both tha t, on the one hand, the source of legitimacy is the actual participation in the procedure, and, on the other hand, that preconditional rights are necessary for the procedure to be legitimate. The problem here is that the view is supposed to be justified fundamentally on procedural grounds. However, this would mean that those participating in the procedure could decide to revoke the preconditional rights this theory posits. The tension between procedures and the principles that underlie them leaves the precondition theorist with a choice: either she must abandon the notion that preconditions are intrinsic to procedural legitimacy or she must suggest a justification for preconditional rights that is not dependent on the affirmation of those participating in a procedure. The latter strategy requires a justification of rights that is tied not to the procedure itself, but rather to principles independent of the procedure. Precondition theorists might be reluctant to follow this strategy on the grounds that it would reintroduce the problem of constraint and, therefore, take away from the fundamentally democratic nature of rights. I think this concern is unfounded. An appeal to procedure-independent values, I argue, is potentially an appeal to democratic values. The problem of constraint can be avoided if the procedure-independent values are tailored in such a way as to articulate a democratic ideal. Before I elaborate on this approach, however, it is important to examine what is perhaps the most prominent defense of proceduralism in the literature of contemporary democratic theory: Jürgen Habermas’s theory of deliberative democracy. For Habermas, ideal democratic procedure relies not on the will of the majority, but on a conception of unanimity. This does not imply that actual individuals must make actual decisions unanimously. Habermas recognizes that such a requirement would be unworkable at the legislative level. Instead, he suggests democratic legitimacy rests on an ideal of unanimity within an ideal procedure, a procedure defined in part by what he calls ‘ideal speech’ conditions.15

The democratic ideal requires quality deliberation

Corey Brettschneider, Professor, Brown University, 2006,  The value theory of democracy, Corey Brettschneider is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Taubman Center

for Public Policy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics,

In Habermas’s view, legitimate democratic decisions should be made in the context of an ideal environment where all citizens are free to deliberate and reason with each other about policy. In part, such an ideal procedure is defined by citizens’ willingness to reason about policy by appeal to reasons that acknowledge each participant’s status as an equal. Moreover, the theory requires that citizens would be assured a variety of preconditional rights, such as a right to basic material welfare, to ensure they can function within the procedure as autonomous and equal. Since decisions within the ideal procedure must be unanimous and acceptable to all, each citizen is assured that his interests cannot be neglected. According toHabermas, the view is purely procedural in that the decisions of individuals within the ideal procedure provide the sole basis for democratic legitimacy.Although Habermas’s view is not majoritarian, the same challenge I presentedagainst the preconditional view is appropriate here. What if those in the ideal procedure wished to alter the preconditions that Habermas believes define it?16 Thisproblem would arise if, for instance, participants in the ideal procedure unanimously decided to jettison welfare rights. One response is that such an instance simply violates the requirements of the ideal procedure necessary for legitimacy.Yet to make this argument coherently, Habermas would have to claim that that ideal procedure is more fundamental than the actual decisions of deliberators.Habermas seems to reject this suggestion. He argues that a theory of democracy must ground any account of rights in an account of democratic procedureor risk collapsing into a liberal theory of justice. For Habermas, any nonprocedural approach to democratic accounts of rights is problematic because, onsuch accounts, rights would be ‘possessed like things’.17 For the citizens inHabermas’s ideal environment, such a view could not ‘reignite the radicaldemocratic embers . . . in the civic life of their society, for from their perspectiveall of the essential discourses of legitimation have already taken place within thetheory; and they find the results of the theory already sedimented in the constitution’.18 Habermas suggests that the legitimacy of even the basic rights essentialto the ideal procedure must rest on the affirmation of citizens. As I read him here,Habermas is suggesting that any attempt to justify rights with reference to anideal standard, independent of actual affirmation, is unacceptable because itintroduces the problem of constraint and thus undermines his aim of having coercion be based entirely on a theory of self-government. Habermas, therefore, while claiming to endorse the ‘co-original’ status of rights and democracy, hasnot answered the challenge that a purely procedural theory can be self-defeatingwhen it comes to preconditional rights. Because he emphasizes that the decisionsof citizens within his ideal procedure are the sole basis for democratic legitimacy,Habermas cannot explain why rights are not vulnerable to revocation by thoseparticipants within the democratic procedure.To summarize, a coherent version of majoritarianism would have to recognizethat a tension exists between majority voting and the reasons for such voting. Sophisticated theories respond by putting forward a variety of rights as preconditions of democratic procedures. But these theories cannot successfully defend preconditions in a noncontingent way without abandoning the idea that procedure itself serves as the fundamental locus of democracy. In the following section, I argue that democratic theorists should abandon what has been an excessive fixation on procedures and acknowledge that substantive values lie at the core of the ideal of democracy. I do not deny that procedures such as majority rule play a central role within democratic theory.19 However, I argue that a set of procedure-independent core values constitute the democratic  ideal, properly understood. Although these values are not acknowledged by proceduralists, they underlie all democratic procedures. I will show that proceduralists such as Habermas are mistaken to think an embracing of procedure independence means a reintroduction of the problem of constraint and an abandonment of self-government as the central basis for legitimacy.

Values of democracy cannot undermine the idea of a citizen as ruler, it’s not just about process

Corey Brettschneider, Professor, Brown University, 2006,  The value theory of democracy, Corey Brettschneider is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Taubman Cente for Public Policy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics, value theory of democracy To avoid the logical flaws of procedural and epistemic theories, we have established that our alternative theory cannot adhere unflinchingly to the outcomes of democratic procedures, nor can it rely on a comprehensive standard of truth or justice that constrains democracy. How, then, can we ground this alternative theory? I propose that a truly democratic theory must be grounded in the fundamental, or ‘core’, values of democracy itself.21 These values are implicit in commonly accepted democratic institutions, such as the rule of law and free speech.22 They also comprise the key elements of an ideal democracy: ‘rule of, by, and for the people’.23 In the discussion that follows, I will demonstrate that the value theory of democracy (and its core values) rests on the respect for all citizens as rulers. This conception is importantly different from procedural theories in that it emphasizes the status of citizens as more fundamental than their role in democratic procedures. In breaking from the proceduralist tradition to develop a substantive theory of democratic values, my approach risks losing an uncontroversial definition of democracy, namely, citizens authorizing legitimate law through their participation in democratic procedures. However, the argument of the previous section illustrates that there is theoretical controversy over which procedures are most legitimate in a democracy, and that the best way of evaluating these differences is to look to the underlying values implicit in these various theories of democracy. Thus, the shift to a focus on values makes the issues in these debates more transparent. This emphasis on values does not deny that certain procedures are a necessary condition of legitimate democracies. I merely contend that democratic procedures should be grounded in a broader theory of democracy with explicitly articulated values, values focused on citizens’ status as self-rulers, or what might be called their ‘sovereign status’. Once the content of these values is understood, I will elaborate on how the values not only justify democratic procedures, but also can be used to evaluate the policy outcomes produced by these procedures from the standpoint of the democratic ideal. I contend that certain democratic outcomes consistent with these fundamental values are also necessary conditions of legitimate democracies. Let us return now to the discussion of citizens’ status as rulers – the central concern that must be reflected in the value theory of democracy. In order to understand why the sovereign status of the citizen is more fundamental than the specific capacity of democratic citizens to participate in self-rule, consider in greater depth the phrase ‘rule by the people’. The emphasis in democratic theorists’ understanding of this phrase has traditionally been on the verb ‘rule’. Theorists from majoritarians to sophisticated proceduralists have sought to center their theories on a procedural action taken by a group of the people. However, before we can discuss what it means for a democratic people to rule, we must express what it means for them to be constituted as a people. This requires a discussion of the proper treatment of citizen-rulers. In part, individuals’ status as rulers implies their capacity as citizens to participate in procedures for political decision-making. However, respecting a citizen’s status as a ruler also requires that policy outcomes that result from democratic procedures do not undermine this status. That the core values of democracy have procedural implications and at the same time limit what counts as a legitimate democratic outcome can be illustrated by considering the famous definition of democracy articulated by Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address: ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.24 The notion that government is ‘of’ the people can be understood as a claim about authority. Coercion is best justified by an appeal to its origin in or authorization by the people who are coerced. The notion of rule ‘by’ the people indicates that this coercion must respect, with proper procedures, the importance of the people’s role in decision-making. Procedure alone, however, cannot protect citizens’ status as rulers. Government ‘for’ the people is also necessary – government policies themselves must respect citizens’ sovereign status by ensuring that state coercion does not treat them in a manner that illegitimately undermines their interests. While government ‘by’ the people is a claim about procedures, government ‘for’ the people limits wha counts as a democratic outcome To highlight the contrast between the value theory and a proceduralistapproach to theorizing democracy, consider two instances in which an aggregate of persons is not a democratic people. As a preliminary definition, I use the phrase ‘democratic people’ to mean that those within a polity are treated in the required manner by democratic legitimacy. Our first instance is rule by an unelected colonial power. This is obviously undemocratic because it involves government not ‘by the people’, but by a potentially hostile external force. No colonists are involved in the process of governing, so they are granted no procedural rights. The second instance is a colonial political system in which an indigenous group does retain procedural rights as subjects of an empire, but still might justifiably argue that the principle of self-rule has been violated. The case of the American colonists illustrates this point. For all of what we might call their ‘proceduralist’ arguments against British ‘taxation without representation’, it is important to note that the colonists also refused representation in Parliament on the grounds that their fundamental interests as colonists would be neglected even if they enjoyed procedural equality with Englishmen.25 In other words, despite having their democratic rights to participation honored, they were concerned that Parliament’s procedure would lead to unfair economic policy. I take this to suggest that democracy entails not only procedural rights to rul by the people, but also government for the people.26 Even when colonists are granted procedural rights, colonialism is undemocratic when the governing power fails to serve the legitimate interests of the governed. If the Americancolonists had accepted representation in Parliament, but its colonial tax policyhad remained the same, they still would have been the victims of undemocratictreatment. This policy allowed England to use the colonies as a mere means toenrich and enlarge its empire, a practice that patently implied the unequalstatus of the colonists. Such a practice would have undermined the colonists’status as rulers, regardless of whether they had actually participated in a voteabout it in Parliament. Thus, the requirement that democracy be both by and for the people cannot be accounted for in purely procedural terms. Procedural theories address the actions that a people take in authorizing law, but they neglect to provide guarantees that the outcomes of the democratic process will also respect citizens’ fundamental interests. Democracy’s dual commitments to rule by and for the people are suggestive of a more fundamental grounding of both of these components in the status of a democratic people as self-ruling. In turn, this collective notion of the status of a democratic people entails a respect for individual citizens and their status as individual rulers. This status underlies both the procedural guarantees ensuring that members of a democracy can participate in lawmaking and the limits that must be placed on nondemocratic outcomes. These limits are substantive, not procedural; they ensure that policy will not undermine citizens’ fundamental interest in being treated as rulers. The view that democratic authority comes from the people, but must also respect the people’s status as citizens, opens democratic theory to a realm of inquiry traditionally limited to moral philosophy and accounts of justice. Democratic theory has often been confined to procedural discussions of democratic politics in the narrow sense or to democratic ‘culture’ in a very broadsense. However, understanding the democratic ideal as centrally defined byvalues introduces democratic theory to examinations of the justification andlimits of legitimate coercion in political society. The core democratic valuesshould play a central role in discussing these aspects of coercion.Now that we have elaborated on why the value theory of democracy respectscitizens’ status in the sense of rule both by and for the people, we are in a position to define explicitly the core values of this theory and both their proceduraland substantive implications.

Three core democratic values

Corey Brettschneider, Professor, Brown University, 2006,  The value theory of democracy, Corey Brettschneider is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Taubman Center for Public Policy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics,

The values I invoke as components of the value theory of democracy (equality of interests, political autonomy, and reciprocity) could, standing alone, underlie a whole range of political ideals that are not clearly democratic. However, my aim is to develop a collective understanding of these values that focuses on their specifically democratic meaning. Each of the values is interpreted so as to avoid an appeal to a comprehensive notion of truth or justice and aims to articulate aspects of the shared ideal of democratic citizenship. I elaborate both the procedural and substantive democratic implications of each of the values in turn. The first core value I call ‘equality of interests’. Equality of interests does not provide a comprehensive statement about the nature of humans. It does not, for instance, rely on a conception of equality before God. Rather, as a standard for evaluating democratic procedures and democratic outcomes, it requires that all reasonable interests of citizens must be respected as having equal weight. No one person should have his interests counted more than any other person by virtue of his social position or class. Equality of interests is implicit in most procedures regarded as democratic; it is expressed in the general principle of ‘One person, one vote.’27 Moreover, procedures that violate this value by counting one person’s interests as intrinsically more valuable than another’s are intuitively regarded as undemocratic. Famously, John Stuart Mill once proposed that those who were educated at Oxford or Cambridge should have two votes, while those without such an education should have one.28 On Mill’s account, since voting is primarily meant to produce the best outcome, it would be sensible to allow those with more education more voting power. This proposal brings out the intuitive problem with solely instrumental accounts of democratic procedure; more importantly, it demonstrates why equality of interests is an intrinsically valuable part of the democratic ideal, not defensible merely with reference to its good consequences. Allowing some citizens more votes than their fellows, whether because of education or noble birth, u dermines the sense of democracy as government by all the people, and the democratic ideal that all citizens have equal status. While there are important procedural implications of democratic equality as a value based on government ‘by’ the people, this value also serves as a democratic limit on procedure. In other words, equality of interests also ensures rule ‘for’ the people. As I suggested in Section 2, structuring a procedure to reflect equality of interests is no guarantee that the law ultimately will respect this value in its substance. Thus, law in a legitimate democracy should be formulated and coercive institutions arranged to ensure that all citizens are treated as having equal interests. The second core value I call ‘political autonomy’. Broadly, it entails the treatment of citizens as individual rulers in a society characterized by collective self-rule. Part of the requirement of political autonomy is a role for citizens in deciding through democratic procedures how policy should be formulated. In elaborating this concept, it is again helpful to look at the standard implicit in common distinctions between democratic and nondemocratic procedures. Imagine that in a majoritarian procedure a majority would, free from outside intervention, vote in a manner that undermined the overall good. If the value of citizens’ participation in these procedures were merely instrumental, we might conclude that there was nothing wrong with forcing citizens to vote for the proposal that would bring about the most overall good. Our intuitions about democracy tell us, however, that even if such forced voting might result in more overall good, it would be undemocratic to force citizens to vote in a particular way. Similarly, if individual citizens’ votes were purchased, this would rightly be regarded as a violation of democratic values. Such procedures would be undemocratic because they would not allow individuals to make their own autonomous decisions about politics Just as democratic equality should be understood as a value based on rule both by and for the people, so too the democratic meaning of political autonomy does not merely protect individual rights to participate in collective decision-making. Political autonomy also has substantive implications for the democratic treatment of citizens as rulers.29 For instance, part of the distinctly non-procedural harm that comes from bills of attainder, or ‘special laws’ singling out individuals, lies in their failure to give citizens fair warning about possible punishments. Subject to coercion without fair warning, citizens could not plan their lives without fearing arbitrary mistreatment. This restriction violates a fundamental aspect of democratic autonomy without abridging citizens’ procedural rights. A third value, reciprocity, also is central to democratic legitimacy. Reciprocity is the notion that policies governing citizens’ treatment must be defensible by appeal to arguments that reasonable citizens can accept.30 At times the phrase ‘mutual justification’ is used in the literature of democratic theory to capture the type of reasoning that reflects reciprocity. On my view, mutual or reciprocal justification should appeal to citizens’ common values of autonomy and equalit to discern the limits of coercion. Reciprocity thus might be referred to as an organizing value because it suggests how to apply the other two core values. Reciprocal reason-giving can be distinguished from bargaining based on selfinterest. While bargainers attempt to promote their own interests and secure for themselves the best ‘deal’ possible, citizens who engage in mutual justification seek to justify particular public policies and the coercion these policies entail by appealing to the core values of equality and autonomy. The ideal of reciprocity is sometimes associated with the vast literature on deliberative democracy, in particular, with the formation of procedures of deliberation. Habermas, for instance, makes reciprocity central to his theory of ideal deliberation. Other thinkers, such as Bruce Ackerman and James Fishkin, have attempted to incorporate reciprocity and democratic deliberation into public forums and methods of polling.31 However, even procedures that reflect reciprocity could produce outcomes that fail to embody this value in the fully democratic sense. For instance, even if they were passed by a democratic procedure, bills of attainder still do substantive harm to a democracy because of their arbitrariness. The problem here, beyond the impact I have mentioned on autonomy, is that such laws undermine a central tenet of reciprocity: that citizens are entitled to reasonable (and, thus, nonarbitrary) treatment.32 Through bills of attainder, the government simply enacts the punishment of specific individuals, denying them the ability to contest the reasons for their punishment in a fair, impartial judicial proceeding. Bills of attainder thus subject individuals to potentially arbitrary coercion based not on reasons that can be predicted, explained, and contested, but that may well be ‘governed solely by . . . political necessity or expediency’.33 While democracies punish citizens based on their guilt or innocence in violating established and widely accepted laws, bills of attainder seem designed to incarcerate individuals for reasons that would not hold up under the usual scrutiny of the due process of law; they facilitate punishment that is selectively impos ed rather than justified by rules that citizens can reasonably be expected to follow.34 Thus, punishments meted out through bills of attainder are a paradigmatic violation of citizens’ entitlement to reasonable treatment even when citizens retain procedural rights of participation. We are now in a position to contrast further my view, the value theory of democracy, with both procedural and epistemic views. Unlike proceduralists, I have provided an independent standard for assessing democratic legitimacy: the core values. Consequently, I can account for the role of substantive values in democratic theory and, thus, the importance of substantive limits on democratic procedure (a role proceduralists deny). In a wider project, I make the argument that these substantive limits are properly understood as democratic rights.35 We can already see this argument take shape here because these limits, like the democratic process, are justified by the core values. While democratic procedures provide for rule by the people, substantive rights ensure that these procedures function for the people. Epistemic theories are vulnerable to charges of sectarianism because they appeal to a comprehensive truth or account of justice. However, the standard provided by the core values does not subordinate democracy to truth; instead, it suggests how to recognize the status of a democratic people and its citizens. The three core values are formulated to be sufficiently narrow to capture the meaning of rule by and for the people. The values draw neither from a particular theory of truth nor from a comprehensive morality; in Rawls’s terms, they are not ‘metaphysical’.36 The core value of political autonomy, for instance, brackets questions regarding free will. Likewise, the core value of equality is not derived from the concepts of metaphysical equality or equal abilities. The core values are thus compatible with a wide range of reasonable comprehensive conceptions and avoid the charge of sectarianism because they address only the specific question of legitimate rule by appeal to the common ruling status of those subject to coercion. 4. Conclusion Democratic theory has traditionally emphasized the importance of procedure in contrast to individual rights. However, I have argued that this exclusive focus on procedure neglects a more fundamental justification at the heart of the concept of self-government. The values of equality of interests, political autonomy, and reciprocity provide an underlying justification of democratic procedure and are rightly regarded as the core values of democracy. This thesis proposes a general shift in democratic theory from an emphasis on value-neutral procedure to a moral account of democratic values. The best defense for thinking of these values as democratic is that they are founded upon respect for the self-ruling status of the citizens who compose a democratic people. A state can best respect this status by honoring the right of citizens to participate in democratic procedures and by limiting those policy outcomes that would fail to respect citizens as rulers.

Majoritarianism (however we get there) is key to democracy

For a procedural defense of democracy with reference to an account of equal political resources, see Thomas Christiano, The Rule of the Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996). Jeremy Waldron defends a specifically majoritarian procedure as inherently valuable on the basis that it is the best manifestation of persons’ capacity to make their own decisions in Jeremy Waldron, Law and Disagreement (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). For an elaboration of this argument as rights-based, see ibid., pp. 109, 250. Both Christiano and Waldron explicitly reject any attempt to synthesize substantive and procedural concerns in an account of self-government

Free Speech Key to Democracy

Alexander Meiklejohn, Political Freedom: The Constitutional Powers of the People (New York: Harper, 1960).

Economic sustenance key to democracy

Carol Pateman, ‘Freedom and Democratization: Why Basic Income is to be Preferred to Basic Capital’, in The Ethics of Stakeholding, edited by Keith Dowding, Jurgen de Wispelaere and Stuart White (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). Pateman suggests that basic income rights are inalienable because of their essential role as a precondition for political participation.

Privacy key to democracy

Frank Michelman suggests that the civic republican tradition can offer a defense of the right of privacy on the grounds that it is a precondition to meaningful political participation. See Fr