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COGNITIVE CORRUPTION AND DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2019

Adrian Blau*
Affiliation:
Political Economy, King’s College London

Abstract:

This essay defends deliberative democracy by reviving a largely forgotten idea of corruption, which I call “cognitive corruption”—the distortion of judgment. I analyze different versions of this idea in the work of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Bentham, and Mill. Historical analysis also helps me rethink orthodox notions of corruption in two ways: I define corruption in terms of public duty rather than public office, and I argue that corruption can be both by and for political parties. In deliberative democracy, citizens can take off their party hats and may be more influenced by the force of the better argument than in party democracy.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Social Philosophy and Policy Foundation 2019 

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Footnotes

*

For comments and criticisms on an earlier version of this essay, I thank my anonymous reviewers, Donald Bello Hutt, Michael Johnston, David Lebow, Helen McCabe, Rob Sparling, David Schmidtz, Philip Schofield, James Shafe, participants at the European Hobbes Society Workshop at the EUI, Florence (27-28 April, 2017), and the other contributors to the present volume.

References

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25 A point made by Warren, “What Does Corruption Mean in a Democracy?” 331.

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32 Dawood, “Classifying Corruption,” 108–11.

33 Warren, “What Does Corruption Mean in a Democracy?” 333–34; see also Warren, Mark, “The Meaning of Corruption in Democracies,” in Heywood, Paul, ed., Routledge Handbook of Political Corruption (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), 4255.Google Scholar

34 Warren, “What Does Corruption Mean in a Democracy?” 332–34.

35 Warren, “The Meaning of Corruption,” 52; see also “What Does Corruption Mean in a Democracy?” 338.

36 Habermas, Jürgen, Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, trans. Lenhardt, Christian and Nicholsen, Shierry Weber (Cambridge: Polity, 1990), 6566.Google Scholar

37 Kurer, “Corruption.” See also Dobel, “The Corruption of a State,” 960–61, on corruption as the undermining of disinterestedness/impartiality.

38 Blau, Adrian, “Hobbes on Corruption,” History of Political Thought 30 (2009): 606–11.Google Scholar

39 Blau, “Hobbes on Corruption.”

40 Buchan and Hill, An Intellectual History of Political Corruption, 16.

41 But see Hampshire, Stuart, “Public and Private Morality,” in Hampshire, Stuart, ed., Public and Private Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), 51;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Talisse, Robert, Democracy and Moral Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 87, 106, 122, 165;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Hellman, “Defining Corruption,” 1388, 1397–99.

42 Pitkin, Hanna, Fortune is a Woman: Gender and Politics in the Thought of Niccolò Machiavelli, extended edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 25.Google Scholar See, for example, Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. Harvey Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1996), book 1 chapter 6, p. 23; book 1, chap. 19, p. 52; book 2, chap. 2, pp. 131–32.

43 Dobel, “Corruption of a State.”

44 Machiavelli, , The Comedies of Machiavelli, ed. and trans. Sices, David and Atkinson, James (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2007), 135.Google Scholar

45 On cognitive corruption preceding political corruption, see likewise Blau, “Hobbes on Corruption,” 605–6.

46 Machiavelli, Discourses 3.8, 1, 237. (Hereafter, references to Machiavelli follow the following format: book. chapter, page.) But compare Machiavelli, Florentine Histories, trans. Laura Banfield and Harvey Mansfield (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988) 4.24, 170, which equates corruption with bribery.

47 Machiavelli, Discourses 1.17, 47; see also 1.35, 76; 1.42, 90; 3.8, 237.

48 Ibid., preface to book 2, 124.

49 Ibid., 1.47, 96.

50 Machiavelli, Florentine Histories 7.29, 307.

51 Ibid., 3.5, 109–12.

52 Shumer, Sara, “Machiavelli: Republican Politics and its Corruption,” Political Theory 7 (1979): 9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For a contemporary variant of this idea, see Satz, Debra, “Markets, Privatization, and Corruption,” Social Research 80 (2013): 996, 9981006.Google Scholar

53 Pitkin, Fortune is a Woman, 48–49; Hannah Arendt, On Revolution (London: Penguin, 1990), 252.

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56 Machiavelli, Florentine Histories 2.4, 57.

57 Ibid., 3.5, 110–11; emphasis added.

58 Machiavelli, “A Discourse on Remodelling the Government of Florence,” in Machiavelli, The Chief Works and Others, Vol. 1, trans. Allan Gilbert (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1958), 103, 109.

59 On the religious connotations of sette, see Mansfield, Harvey, book review, Renaissance Quarterly 28 (1975): 68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

60 See, e.g., Muirhead, Russell, “Can Deliberative Democracy Be Partisan?” Critical Review 22 (2010): 139–40;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Muirhead, Promise of Party, 252.

61 Hanasz, Waldemar, “The Common Good in Machiavelli,” History of Political Thought 31 (2010): 6667, 84–85.Google Scholar

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63 See also Skinner, “Republican Ideal,” 304.

64 Ibid., 309; emphasis added.

65 Rosenblum, On the Side of the Angels, 25–35.

66 E.g., Machiavelli, Florentine Histories 3.5, 110.

67 Bentham, Jeremy, Collected Works, ed. Bowring, John (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838–43), volume 10, 72.Google Scholar

68 For example, Hardin, Russell, “From Power to Order, From Hobbes to Hume,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 1 (1993): 6981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

69 This is the main approach in my ongoing book project, Hobbes’s Failed Science of Politics and Ethics. Hobbes can of course be read both forward and backward, as for example with Deborah Baumgold, Hobbes’s Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

70 Peter Euben, “Corruption,” in Terence Ball, James Farr and Russell Hanson, eds., Political Innovation and Conceptual Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 231–35; Teachout, Corruption in America, 43.

71 For an analysis of all of Hobbes’s comments on corruption, see Blau, “Hobbes on Corruption.”

72 See, e.g., Peck, Linda Levy, Court Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart England (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 165.Google Scholar

73 Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Richard Tuck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), chap. 26, para. 24, p. 192 (Hereafter, references to Hobbes will be listed: chapter. paragraph, and page); 26.27, 195.

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75 Hobbes, Leviathan, 27.14, 205.

76 Ibid., 15.24 and 15.26, 108; see also Thomas Hobbes, On the Citizen, ed. Richard Tuck and Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) 3.15, 50. On equity in Hobbes, see Olsthoorn, Johan, “Hobbes’s Account of Distributive Justice as Equity,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (2013): 1333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar And see note 37 above for Kurer’s and Dobel’s conceptualizations of corruption in terms of partiality.

77 Thomas Hobbes, Opera Latina: Thomae Hobbes Malmesburiensis Opera Philosophica Quae Latine Scripsit Omnia, ed. William Molesworth (London: John Bohn, 1839–45), volume 3, 120; Hobbes, Leviathan 15.32, 109; see also On the Citizen 3.21–3.22, 52.

78 Hobbes, Leviathan 14.30, 98; see also On the Citizen 2.19, 40; Opera Latina 3, 110.

79 Hobbes, On the Citizen 13.17, 152; emphasis added.

80 Brooks, “The Nature of Political Corruption,” 13; see also 3–4.

81 E.g., Punch, Maurice, “Police Corruption and its Prevention,” European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 8 (2000): 302;CrossRefGoogle Scholar deLeon, Peter and Green, Mark, “Political Corruption: Establishing the Parameters,” Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management 13 (2004): 233;Google Scholar Senior, Ian, Corruption–the World’s Big C: Cases, Causes, Consequences, Cures (London: The Institute for Economic Affairs, 2006), 27, 3032.Google Scholar For Bentham, see Section V below.

82 For a detailed analysis of Hobbes and his contemporaries on counsel, see Paul, Joanne, “Counsel, Command and Crisis,” Hobbes Studies 28 (2015): 103–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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84 E.g., Hobbes, Thomas White’s De Mundo Examined, trans. Harold Whitmore Jones (London: Bradford University Press, 1976), chap. 38 sec. 16, p. 476. For more examples in Hobbes, see Blau, “Hobbes on Corruption,” 607.

85 Hobbes, Leviathan 25.2–25.4, 176–77; 25.6–25.9, 177–78.

86 Ibid., 25.6, 177.

87 Dryzek, John, Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 5253, 67, 69, 167–68;Google Scholar Krause, Sharon, Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and Democratic Deliberation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 40–43, 146–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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89 Blau, “Hobbes on Corruption,” 602–3.

90 Douglas, Jesseph, Squaring the Circle: the War Between Hobbes and Wallis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 247–92.Google Scholar

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92 Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric, 298.

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95 Blais, André, Carty, Kenneth, and Fournier, Patrick, “Do Citizens’ Assemblies Make Reasoned Choices?” in Warren, Mark and Pearse, Hilary, eds., Designing Deliberative Democracy: The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 131–35.Google Scholar

96 See especially Oren Ben-Dor, Constitutional Limits and the Public Sphere: A Critical Study of Bentham’s Constitutionalism (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2000), chap. 6. But for a critique of Ben-Dor’s interpretation, see Shafe, James, Counting and Talking: A Benthamite View of Public Reasoning (University College London PhD thesis, 2016), 8, 105–16.Google Scholar

97 E.g., Bentham, “Constitutional Code Rationale,” in Jeremy Bentham, First Principles Preparatory to Constitutional Code, ed. Philip Schofield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 326.

98 E.g., Bentham, “Economy as Applied to Office,” in Jeremy Bentham, First Principles Preparatory to Constitutional Code, ed. Philip Schofield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 17.

99 Langford, Paul, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 716.Google Scholar

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101 Bentham, “Economy as Applied to Office,” 17.

102 Bentham, “Plan of Parliamentary Reform,” in Jeremy Bentham, Collected Works, ed. John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838–43), volume 3, 507.

103 James Shafe, Counting and Talking, 8, 64–70, 193, 204.

104 Bentham, “Constitutional Code Rationale,” 261; Bentham, “Jeremy Bentham to his Fellow-Citizens of France,” in Jeremy Bentham, Collected Works, ed. John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838–43), volume 4, 433; Bentham, “Art of Packing,” in Jeremy Bentham, Collected Works, ed. John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838–43), volume 6, at several points.

105 Bentham, “Fellow-Citizens,” 432.

106 Bentham, “Constitutional Code,” in Jeremy Bentham, Collected Works, ed. John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838–43), volume 9, 48.

107 Quoted in Hume, L. J., Bentham and Bureaucracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 184–85;CrossRefGoogle Scholar see also “Plan of Parliamentary Reform,” 450, 466.

108 Bentham, Jeremy, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, ed. Burns, J. H. and Hart, H. L. A. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), chap. 7 sec. 5, 75.Google Scholar

109 Bentham, “Fellow-Citizens,” 433.

110 Ibid., 433; Jeremy Bentham, The Book of Fallacies, ed. Philip Schofield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 464; “Constitutional Code Rationale,” 261.

111 Bentham, “Plan of Parliamentary Reform,” 482; emphasis removed.

112 Bentham, “Fellow-Citizens,” 433; emphasis removed.

113 Bentham, “Supreme Operative,” in Jeremy Bentham, First Principles Preparatory to Constitutional Code, ed. Philip Schofield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 224.

114 Ibid., 204.

115 E.g., Bentham, “Economy as Applied to Office,” 24.

116 Schofield, Philip, “Jeremy Bentham on Political Corruption: A Critique of the First Report of the Nolan Committee,” Current Legal Problems 49 (1996): 400401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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118 E.g., Dahl, Robert, Democracy and its Critics (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989).Google Scholar

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120 Bentham, “Constitutional Code Rationale,” 255–57.

121 Bentham, “Plan of Parliamentary Reform,” 493–94.

122 Bentham, “Constitutional Code Rationale,” 264.

123 Bentham, “Economy as Applied to Office,” 21–22.

124 Bentham, “Plan of Parliamentary Reform,” 507; see also “Constitutional Code,” 78; “Economy as Applied to Office,” 44; Schofield, “Jeremy Bentham on Political Corruption,” 398.

125 Bentham, “Fellow-Citizens,” 436; emphasis removed.

126 Bentham, “Appendix A: Division of Power,” in Bentham, Jeremy, Rights, Representation, and Reform: Nonsense Upon Stilts and Other Writings on the French Revolution, ed. Schofield, Philip, Pease-Watkin, Catherine, and Blamires, Cyprian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 409.Google Scholar On corruption as improper dependence, see Lessig, Lawrence, “What an Originalist Would Understand ‘Corruption’ to Mean,” California Law Review 102 (2014): 511;Google Scholar see also Sparling, Robert, “Political Corruption and the Concept of Dependence in Republican Thought,” Political Theory 41 (2013), 618–47;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Teachout, Corruption in America, 53–55.

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130 Shafe, Counting and Talking, 194–95.

131 Ibid., 199–216.

132 Quoted in Mack, Mary, Jeremy Bentham: An Odyssey of Ideas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962), 422.Google Scholar

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135 Quoted in Mack, Bentham, 422–23.

136 Bentham, Book of Fallacies, 201.

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139 Ibid., 477.

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142 Mill, “Considerations on Representative Government,” 2, 395.

143 Donner, “Mill’s Moral and Political Philosophy,” 107. On relational equality, see Morales, Maria, “The Corrupting Influence of Power,” in Morales, Maria, ed., Mill’s The Subjection of Women: Critical Essays (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005), 99100.Google Scholar

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145 Ibid., 3.25, 193; 2.4, 153.

146 Ibid., 2.9, 158.

147 Mill, “Considerations on Representative Government,” 6, 445.

148 Blaug, Ricardo, “Cognition in a Hierarchy,” Contemporary Political Theory 6 (2007): 37;CrossRefGoogle Scholar for more analysis see Blaug, Ricardo, How Power Corrupts: Cognition and Democracy in Organisations (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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151 Gambetta, Diego, “‘Claro!’: an Essay on Discursive Machismo,” in Elster, Jon, ed., Deliberative Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 33.Google Scholar

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157 Gordon Tullock, book review, Journal of Economic Literature 27 (1989): 659.

158 Niskanen, William, Bureaucracy and Public Economics (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1994), 192–94.Google Scholar

159 Rose-Ackerman, Susan, Corruption: A Study in Political Economy (London: Academic Press, 1978), 9;Google Scholar Schmidtz, David, “Corruption: What Really Should Not Be For Sale,” in Rangan, Subramanian, ed., Performance and Progress: Essays on Capitalism, Business, and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 54.Google Scholar

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COGNITIVE CORRUPTION AND DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY
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