What decisions would we make if we deliberated carefully about public policy? Alexander Görlach sat down with Stanford's James Fishkin to discuss deliberative democracy, parliamentary discontent, and the future of the two-party system.
'Most people are not well informed about public policy. They are rationally ignorant: their vote is only one among millions, so why should they care? What we want to show is that these people don’t lack the competence to make informed decisions. If we give them the right information, in an institutional design where they become seriously engaged in competing arguments, they will make informed and thoughtful judgments. One thing we don’t seek is consensus. Consensus usually distorts judgments because of the social pressure that is involved. We want to avoid those forms of pressure, or the top-down approach of a telephone poll. It turns out that when people think about the issues, they are very thoughtful.'