Friday, December 13, 2013
Cass R. Sunstein
(Continued from page 1)
James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was concerned above all about the risks of faction, which he defined as citizens "united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."
Madison hoped that through the structures of the American republic, it would be possible "to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations."
It is an understatement to say that this kind of refinement and enlargement is not occurring. We will not see them unless the most extreme members of the Republican Party are able to move out of their echo chambers, and unless the incentives of those members are significantly altered.
Cass R. Sunstein, the Robert Walmsley University professor at Harvard Law School, is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the co-author of "Nudge" and author of "Simpler: The Future of Government."