In this essay, Professor Clark argues that we should be attentive to the effect that direct democracy might have on our public character. Building upon earlier work, Clark suggests that the initiative in particular threatens to debase us by undercutting a crucial character trait which might best be called "responsibility-taking." The bulk of this essay is devoted to explaining what this means, and why it matters. Why should we care about the effect of political processes on public character? Why is this particular trait important and worth preserving? How is it threatened by direct democracy? In conclusion, and by way of illustration, Clark suggests that this effect might be countered-that direct democracy might be "ennobled"-through a simple but dramatic change in the way initiative voting is conducted. It should not be anonymous. If we want to tell our gay and lesbian neighbors that they may not marry, for example, we should at least be willing to look them in the eye when we do so.
Sherman J. Clark,
Ennobling Direct Democracy,
U. Colo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/lawreview/vol78/iss4/4