EP8: Should the Knowledgable Rule? (On Jason Brennan’s “Against Democracy”)

Most political theorists assume that some form of democracy is the only legitimate political regime. Jason Brennan thinks this is an under-examined assumption. In fact, Brennan thinks there are many reasons to be critical of both the existing forms of representative democracy as well as more radical theories that endorse drastically increased democratic participation. Why? Because Brennan thinks most people are pretty bad at political deliberation.

On this week’s episode, we read Jason Brennan’s 2016 book, “Against Democracy.” In it, Brennan offers a controversial argument for replacing democracy with an “epistocracy” – rule by the knowledgeable. We debate whether any of Brennan’s criticisms of democracy land, as well as whether we should value political regimes on instrumentalist or intrinsic grounds.

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