Jeremy Waldron (NYU) escreveu uma resenha para a NY Review sobre o último livro de Habermas, Na Esteira da Tecnocracia. Em The Vanishing Europe of Jurgen Habermas Waldron procura reconstruir os compromissos de Habermas em relação ao projeto supranacional europeu ressaltando filósofo alemão identifica como os "déficits democráticos" presente em sua origem e agravado após a crise grega. Contudo, a principal virtude do ensaio é a tentativa de Waldron de mostrar como cada uma das características da concepção as vezes extremamente abstrata e intricada de democracia deliberativa desenvolvida por Habermas encontra uma contraparte prática em sua avaliação das instituições políticas européias. Uma excelente leitura tanto para quem quer entrar em contato com as ideias de Habermas como para reavaliar a dimensão normativa de sua teoria.
Habermas’s model begins with something that entranced Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau before him: the idea of self-legislation or political autonomy. In a democracy, laws are supposed to have legitimacy because the people to whom they are addressed are also their authors. Of course, our authorship of the laws that apply to us is offset by layers of institutional structure: elections, representation, majority decision, and the elaborate procedures that parliaments use to debate and enact a bill. Still, all of this is done in our name, and the institutional layers are supposed to be governed by a principle of political equality that gives each of us an equal say, direct or indirect, in the lawmaking process. In the final analysis these procedures are us, making laws for ourselves.
To this model of people making laws for themselves, Habermas adds three additional layers. First, he frames the democratic process by emphasizing “deliberation.” There are millions of us— hundreds of millions in the EU—diverse and opinionated. We disagree about what laws we need or want. But democracy means not only that we vote on these questions, but that each of us has to face up to all the arguments there are for and against a given measure. In some hands, this element of deliberation is understood in a solitary way—one assembles the reasons in one’s head, so to speak, and reaches a conclusion for oneself about how to vote. But Habermas’s model is irreducibly a matter of dialogue. We make law for ourselves in the company of others—all others who are going to be obligated—and if we are to meet democratic standards we convince ourselves that a given set of laws is necessary, if it is, by listening respectfully to what others say about the interests and values of theirs that are at stake in the matter.
A second layer concerns Habermas’s idea of rationality and values. When people talk to each other, they are not, as he conceives such conversation, just engaged in instrumental reasoning. They are presenting to each other everything that is important to them about the matters under discussion, including ultimate values and concerns that go way beyond the economic considerations that pervade technocratic thinking [...]
The third thing that distinguishes Habermas’s model is an insistence that democratic deliberation may be understood entirely in terms of the processes that it involves. Most philosophers come to democratic theory not only with an idealized set of fair political procedures in mind but also with an idealized view about what should count as just or appropriate outcomes of these procedures. In the institutions they advocate—whether it is a system of representation or a constitutional court—they seek some sort of adjustment or compromise between democratic procedures and just outcomes.