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Consensus and Global Environmental GovernanceDeliberative Democracy in Nature's Regime$
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Walter F. Baber and Robert V. Bartlett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028738

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028738.001.0001

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Reconciling Diversity and Consensus in Democratic Governance

Reconciling Diversity and Consensus in Democratic Governance

(p.57) 4 Reconciling Diversity and Consensus in Democratic Governance
Consensus and Global Environmental Governance

Walter F. Baber

Robert V. Bartlett

The MIT Press

Difference democrats argue that the preoccupation of deliberative democracy with reasoned consensus makes it inimical to diversity and that achieving consensus is not possible in the face of deep moral divisions and cultural pluralism. They also indict consensus for its tendency to push difference aside. The deliberative requirement of public reason is criticized as posing an unfair obstacle to the already-disadvantaged by depriving them of many effective non-deliberative forms of expression. And deliberative democracy is condemned for placing daunting obstacles in the path of accomplishing persuasion. But none of these criticisms hold up well under scrutiny. An analysis contrasting the environmental justice discourse with the animal rights discourse provides a cautionary tale for diversity-embracing environmentalists, difference democrats, and proponents of consensus-based governance.

Keywords:   Diversity, Difference, Pluralism, Consensus, Animal rights, Environmental justice

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