Democratic liberalism

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Not to be confused with liberal democracy, democratic liberalism aims to reach a synthesis of democracy which is the participation of the people in the power, and the rational liberalism, which declines the emotional populism.

It arose accepting general suffrage after World War I, and its main question is how to ask people between elections, or should they be asked at all? In 2004, James Surowiecki published The Wisdom of Crowds, in which he argued that small groups exhibit more intelligence than isolated individuals and that collective intelligence shapes business, economies, societies and nations.

The Liberal Democrats (UK) describe their ideology as giving "power to the people"; they are against the concentration of power in unaccountable bodies. They propose decentralisation of power out of Westminster, and electoral and parliamentary reform, to create a system of tiered government structures to make decisions at what they see as the right level, including regional assemblies, the European Union, and international organisations. Lib Dems want to protect civil liberties, and oppose state intervention in personal affairs.

Craig Duncan says in his Democratic Liberalism: The Politics of Dignity that:

One important question concerns whether to have a direct democracy (in which citizens themselves propose and vote on laws) or a representative democracy (in which elected offices perform these functions). To a large extent this question is settled by pragmatic considerations (direct democracies are better suited to small city-states than to today’s large nationstates), but a dignity-based case is not wholly silent here. I do not believe that the demands of dignity require direct democracy, for to say that citizens are competent beings capable of responsible choice is not to say they are all competent to judge the various issues requiring political attention, from taxes to defense to education to the environment and so on. A representative democracy instead, and more accurately, presumes citizens are first and foremost competent to choose leaders who are themselves competent at judging these issues. This is not to say that the ideal of direct democracy has no relevance, however. Since in fact many private citizens do have competent knowledge of a variety of issues, especially those that directly implicate their interests, a representative democracy should also create significant space for citizen input into its deliberative practices (via open hearings and other public forums, say).

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