Outline of Chapter 5 of The Public Philosophy

The Two Functions

Given the malady of modern democracies is caused by the derangement of the governing and the representative powers, what is the cause of the weakened executive (governing power) in modern liberal democracies, and what should be done about it.

I. In democracies, political power tends to drain away from the governing center (executive) and into the electorate; this is also true of the elected executives that are part of most modern liberal democracies.


II. The problem of protecting the executive (and judiciary) from the electorate was known and prompted solutions by the Founding Fathers of the 18th and the Progressives of the 19th centuries.

            A. Separation of Powers

            B. Progressive insulation of judges, agencies from the pressure of public and politicians


III. The purpose of protecting the executive from public pressure is to allow the executive (and judges and administrators) to fulfill the duties of the office—professional, political

            A. Executives/judges/administrators have a function to perform, professional standards to meet, which is not simply to serve the wishes of the voters

            B. The function of the representatives/legislators is generally to advocate the will of the voters

            C. This functional distinction is crucial to maintain the liberal democracies

D. The tradition of the two functions has deep historical roots—the Pope, Edmund Burke


IV. The present threat to this functional distinction is two-fold:

            1. Governments are huge, performing many functions, raising and spending huge amounts

            2. People are increasingly unable to believe in and accept the imponderable or mysterious authority of tradition


V. No solution to overcoming these two threats is given