What Democracy Requires

Over at Crooked Timber, an avowedly left-wing academic blog, a curious thing: a post wondering if democracy is incompatible with multiculturalism and may require high national cognitive ability and even eugenics.

The premise:

To participate in the democratic debate, people need a lot of skills and cognitive tools: literacy; numeracy; knowing what other people are going on about and why it matters to them; the cultural knowledge and rhetorical skill to argue effectively with fellow citizens[2]; knowledge of the world in general.

The implication:

[2]It’s easy, on this basis, to argue for compulsory education strongly focused on assimilating all children to a single common culture. … There’s even a formally parallel argument for eugenics, but it’d be much weaker.

File under: curious things found on the internet.

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