San Diego Law Review


Richard Arneson

Library of Congress Authority File


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Asking what the best feasible political governance system for a country at a time is admits of different interpretations, depending on the gloss we are placing on “feasible.” We might be thinking of the best feasible system as the best system that could be installed, in present circumstances, if a set of people sufficient to bring about the shift could be convinced to team up to effect it. A more restricted feasibility question would be posed if we asked instead, taking for granted the actual beliefs and attitudes and their entrenchment in the present members of society now, what is the best move from the status quo that, if proposed to them, would elicit sufficient allegiance from some of them, to effect the shift? The first way of posing the question has us set aside actual beliefs and attitudes of people now that bear on the question, what are the available options for regime change.

A more practical question to pose would be incremental. Given the present political system in a country of interest, would it be better in instrumental terms to push it in a more or a less democratic and to what extent? For simplicity, I stick in this Article to posing the issue at the more abstract level.

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