In this book Albert Weale dissects the idea of the will of the people, showing that it relies on a mythical view of participatory democracy. The definition of the people is vague and shifting. As soon as a choice between more than two simple alternatives is involved, there is often no clear answer to the question of what a majority favours. Worst of all, because governments have to interpret the results of referendums, the will of the people becomes a means for strengthening executive control the exact opposite of what appealing to the people s will seemed to imply.
Weale argues that it s time to dispense with the myth of the will of the people. A flourishing democracy requires an open society in which choices can be challenged, parliaments strengthened and populist leaders called to account.
- Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 In the Grip of a Myth
- Chapter 2 Nostalgic Myths
- Chapter 3 What is a People?
- Chapter 4 Majority Willing?
- Chapter 5 The Mythical Sovereign
- Chapter 6 On Being Outnumbered
- Chapter 7 Democracy without Myth
- Chapter 8 The Ethics of Responsibility