chapter  9
9 Pages

The Value of Deliberation

To deliberate is not just to "talk about" problems. To deliberate means to weigh carefully both the consequences of various options for action and the views of others. Deliberation is what we require of juries. It is what makes twelve of our peers a group to whom we literally give life-or-death powers. We don't just trust twelve people with those powers under any conditions. We require that they deliberate long and carefully. The same is true of democratic politics. Without the discipline of serious deliberation, it is impossible for a body of people to articulate what they believe to be in the best interest of all-in the "public" interest. Deliberations are needed to find our broader and common concerns ... without deliberation, governments are left without public direction and legitimacy. (p. 111)

A public that lacks a shared perspective on a problem is no more able to carry out the essential political task-that of forming asound judgment and making a choice-than a person with multiple personalities would be able to act rationally if all his various "selves" were present simultaneously and were clamoring for the right to motivate his actions.

A public judgment consists of a shared sense ofwhich consequences are acceptable to everyone, whlch are not, what trade-offs people are prepared to accept, and what priorities we should have as a public. (pp. 5-6)