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The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survives
The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survives

Thu, Oct 05


Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survives

Democracy means having no boss other than ourselves.

Time & Location

Oct 05, 2023, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, 385 E 8th St, Claremont, CA 91711, USA

About the event

Democratic citizens rule themselves, directly or through their chosen representatives; they reject the rule of any individual, junta, or tyrannical majority. Democracy arises when, building on a prior history of political bargains, citizens compromise on a civic bargain: an always imperfect agreement for how they will govern themselves, and what that means for who gives and who gets what. Citizens enjoy freedom, equality, and dignity when they commit to undertaking the duties of citizenship – doing the political work that might otherwise be done by a boss. So how can modern democracies survive and thrive? Citizens must agree that security and welfare are common interests; they must set the bounds of citizenship and agree on institutions for making policy. They must be willing to compromise and must treat one another as civic friends, not political enemies. They must invest in education that teaches civic skills to future citizens and explains to them the value of self-government. Democracy survives when the civic bargain remains effective and when it evolves adaptively in the face of new challenges.

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