Debate: Is democracy overrated? Yes.

The following is the first installment in a four-part debate between Georgetown Professor Jason Brennan and Princeton Professor Philip Pettit on the merits of democracy as a system of social order.

“Is democracy overrated?” Yes, democracy is overrated. I agree that democracy is the best performing, most functional system we’ve tried so far. But while most philosophers approach democracy with religious reverence, I see it as nothing but a tool—a means to an end—and a flawed one at that. It’s merely a useful decision-making procedure that tends to produce reasonably just outcomes. But if we can find a better tool, we should feel free to use it. In my view, democracy is nothing more than a hammer, and no one insists on using a hammer when a wrench works better.