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Single Idea 19749

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / c. Direct democracy]

Full Idea

In order to stop ...the dangerous innovations that finally ruined Athens, no one would have the power to propose new laws according to his fancy; this right belongs exclusively to the magistrates.

Gist of Idea

In a direct democracy, only the leaders should be able to propose new laws


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1754], Intro letter)

A Reaction

Aristotle says (somewhere!) that control of the agenda for meetings is the key issue in democracies. I assume any citizen can propose a law, but only a magistrate can put it on the agenda. Maybe a separate 'citizen's committee' could filter suggestions.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.28