Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen has a thought regarding the political (not only partisan) use of the internet. I would like more clarity on this, if any one can supply it, I would be delighted. Last three paragraphs:

"Now, however, we are at a turning point. We’ve finally reached something of a left-right equilibrium in the dramatic restructuring of the public sphere that has been underway for the past decade. Against this background, on Nov. 4 the Obama campaign sent an e-mail to supporters from the president-elect signaling aspirations to convert the campaign’s success with social networking technologies into a tool not merely for winning but for good governance.

Such a conversion would require transcending the factional patterns that currently define Internet-based political communication. It would demand a category shift: to remake the tools of factional organization as instruments of broad, cross-partisan and respectful public engagement.

Can this be done? If not, the Obama team’s digital network could well become nothing more than an outsized, 21st-century version of a ward machine. If it can be done, it could restore a richer experience of citizenship."

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