Thus far we have examined normative theories, notably utilitarianism, in their application to political questions, we have investigated central political ideals, liberty, rights and justice, and we have tackled the problem of political obligation. Much of this discussion has been conducted in a manner that supposed that there were two central characters: the state and the citizen. The question of the proper constitution of the state has arisen in a variety of contexts: political liberty requires that citizens be able to take part in the decision-making processes of the state, the right of citizens to participate is a crucial human right and, in Rawls’s theory of justice, is a vital element of the liberty principle. The form taken by government may well make a difference to the issue of whether citizens have good moral reasons to obey the state, since if they participate in democratic procedures, this may witness a measure of consent to the outcome. It is fair to say that the background to many of the arguments we have pursued has
invoked a subscription to democratic principles. These principles, which apply directly to the mechanisms of taking political decisions, need a more careful and explicit investigation. In discussing democracy, we shall be gathering together some of the leading themes of previous chapters.