For Aristotle, in ancient Athens, the concept of Civic Virtue was central to democratic life. It is one of four elements in The Good Life: wealth, honour, pleasure, virtue. I would hope that each voter would bring to Interactive Democracy their own, personal take on what makes the good life, for themselves and others, but what is genuinely good for one, may not be good for another.
Could it be that virtue lies less with the individual but is rather a characteristic of the system?
The virtues of Interactive Democracy:
- It encourages (but does not demand) involvement
- It encourages problem solving and creativity
- It encourages people to explore alternatives and opposite points of view
- It engenders empathy through personal stories and experiences
- It draws out underlying value systems
- It encourages civic responsibility
- It is a type of education
- It allows leaders and experts to emerge
- It involves the day-to-day experience of everyone
- It subverts political tribalism, without destroying it
- It fosters transparency and encourages the exploration of data
- It subverts the bias of money in politics
- It builds on our democratic and cultural heritage
- It respects society AND individuality
- It is meritocratic
- It is pragmatic
- It is fair
What other virtues would you like our political system to foster?
This post was inspired by Justice: A Citizens' Guide to the 21st Century by Michael Sandel. Please click here to watch on iPlayer.