12 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2010
Date Written: February 10, 2010
One of the main functions of constitutionalism is that of installing reason into a democracy. I will briefly highlight some examples of how this works.
As said, I conceive constitutionalism as an instrument of rationalization of democracy. In my view, it shapes democratic reason in at least three ways. First, constitutionalism defines the scope of democratic participation and, in reality, one of its original purposes was that of a more inclusive democracy. Constitutionalism determines whose (and what) costs and benefits should be taken into account in democratic decisions. In other words, constitutionalism determines who must have a voice and who’s interests are taken into account in the course of democratic deliberations. It defines the jurisdiction for measuring democracy. Second, constitutionalism requires democracy to balance the scope of participation with the intensity of impacts of democratic decisions. Democracy is not simply about counting heads. It has also to take into account the respective impact that different decisions may have on different people. Constitutionalism requires balancing the scope of participation (the degree of inclusion) in democratic decisions with the intensity of participation and the respective costs and benefits imposed by different decisions on different groups and people. Thirdly, constitutionalism is also an instrument of rationalization of democracy in that it helps to create the conditions for a free, informed and intersubjective democratic discourse.
Keywords: European integration, constitutionalism
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