In Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, Michael Sandel looks about him and finds a vast and complex world governed by impersonal institutions and structures, in which discontented, anxious, and frustrated individuals are losing control over the forces that govern their lives, and in which the moral fabric of community is unraveling. His solution is to revitalize the civic strand of freedom found in republican politics and thus equip individuals to govern themselves. Sandel wonders how civic republicanism can exist in today's world. Historically, republicanism has found a home in small, bounded places, which were largely self-sufficient and inhabited by people whose living conditions, education, and commonality enabled them to deliberate about public concerns. His structural answer is to disperse sovereignty both upwards and downwards of the modem nation state into a multiplicity of political communities and social institutions. His normative answer is to infuse substantive moral discourse back into public political debate.
85 Geo. L.J. 2085-2103 (1997)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Babcock, Hope M., "Democracy's Discontent in a Complex World: Can Avalanches, Sandpiles, and Finches Optimize Michael Sandel's Civic Republican Community?" (1997). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 1171.