I’ve been planning to write something here on the arguments around lowering the voting age, for a few months now. Then Nicolas Brando beat me to it, in a very clearly argued post setting out the main positions last month. I highly recommend Nicolas’ post, which provides an excellent overview of the debate. I’m going to try to avoid covering the same ground by approaching the question from a slightly different angle.
Category: Democracy (Page 1 of 5)
In many countries, governments impose legal duties on citizens regulating their interactions with unauthorized immigrants. It is for example forbidden to provide them with access to employment, housing or transportation, and even sometimes to merely assist them in some way. In France, for example, there has been a lasting debate about the so-called “délit de solidarité” (offense of solidarity) – a law forbidding citizens to bring assistance to illegal immigrants.
Are we, citizens of rich countries, under a moral duty to obey or disobey such laws?
by Severin Engelmann and Lisa Herzog*
When the relation between “Facebook” and “democracy” is discussed, the question usually is: what impact does Facebook – as it exists today – have on democratic processes? While this is an urgent and important question, one can also raise a different one: what would it mean to turn Facebook into a democracy, i.e. to govern it democratically? What challenges of institutional design would have to be met for developing meaningful democratic governance structures for Facebook?
Scott Chipolina offers the second in a series of Justice Everywhere posts on the US midterm elections and what they say about the state of American democracy. (For the first in the series, see Emilee Chapman’s ‘The United States Needs a Democracy Movement‘.)
The November 6 midterms saw some 113 million Americans cast a ballot. This is the first time in American history that over 100 million voted in a midterm election. Prima facie, this record-setting voter turnout might indicate a thriving democracy. Yet other observations indicate just how far from secure American democracy is.
While most headlines have focused on the divergent successes of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, respectively, the 2018 midterm elections featured mixed results on another important dimension: electoral reform. Ballot measures on various aspects of election law appeared on the ballots in 14 states, and most of them passed. Voters in Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri (and possibly Utah) approved measures to establish more independent redistricting processes. Michigan and Maryland voters passed laws to make registering to vote easier, and Florida voted to re-enfranchise approximately 1.4 million people who have completed sentences for prior felony convictions. At the same time, though, voters in Arkansas and North Carolina approved requirements that voters to show a photo ID at the polls, making it more difficult for many people (disproportionately members of minority groups) to vote.
For nearly all activists involved in electoral reform, these outcomes will seem a mixed success. But to most citizens, these results all look like a win for democracy.
The outcome of the October 7th Brazil elections meant a wide defeat of the Workers’ Party (PT), of the Brazilian Social Democracy’s Party (PSDB) and of many traditional political leaders. Jair Bolsonaro and other candidates who presented themselves as outsiders were the winners. However, politics is not only made by people, but also by ideas. Which of them were defeated?
While Justice Everywhere takes a break over the summer, we recall from our archives some of our memorable posts from 2017-2018.
Here are three good reads on issues commonly associated with left-wing politics that you may have missed or be interested to re-read:
Lisa Herzog’s interview with Isabelle Ferreras on ‘Workplace Democracy‘
Lasse Nielsen’s ‘Sufficiency on Political Inequality‘
Miriam Ronzoni’s ‘On Striking as a Privilege‘
Together with an amazing group of people, I have initiated Twelve Stars. Twelve Stars in Europe’s flag symbolize Europe’s unity in diversity. The Twelve Stars project brings together citizens and practical philosophers from all over Europe to discuss proposals for the future of the European Union. Twelve Stars is premised on two assumptions. First, that the ideas of political philosophers can make a real contribution to improving the European Union. Second, that political philosophers have much to learn from discussing their proposals and arguments with a wider audience.