Civil Disobedience, Epistocracy, and the Question of whether Superior Political Judgment Defeats Majority Authority

Tine Hindkjaer Madsen
2020 Journal of Moral Philosophy  
I outline a new approach to the question of when civil disobedience is legitimate by drawing on insights from the epistocracy literature. I argue that civil disobedience and epistocracy are similar in the sense that they both involve the idea that superior political judgment defeats majority authority, because this can lead to correct, i.e. just, prudent or morally right, political decisions. By reflecting on the question of when superior political judgment defeats majority authority in the
more » ... tocracy case, I identify considerations that also apply to the disobedience context. I conclude that disobedience in protest of law X performed by agents who know that X is wrong is legitimate when: 1) it is not reasonably disputable that the civil dissenter knows that X is wrong 2) the adoption of X is a high-stakes political decision and 3) no destabilizing effects ensue.
doi:10.1163/17455243-20203144 fatcat:ah4im36skjcebnfrbacbvffzui