The Incompatibility of Moral Relativism and Brennan’s Argument for Epistocracy
Keywords:Analytical political philosophy, Democracy, Epistocracy, Jason Brennan, Meta-ethical moral relativism
In Against Democracy, Brennan argues in favor of restricting suffrage, proposing epistocracy. He argues political power should not be held by incompetent and morally unreasonable people (i.e., the competence principle) and that epistocracy would create more just outcomes than democracy. However, Brennan assumes his argument is compatible with different meta-ethical frameworks. In this article, I examine the extent to which his argument is challenged by meta-ethical moral relativism, aiming to answer the following central research question: what are the repercussions of meta-ethical moral relativism for Brennan’s use of the competence principle and the creation of just outcomes as an argument in favor of epistocracy over democracy? I argue that democracy better satisfies Brennan’s own principles compared to epistocracy, for the epistocratic reliance on experts renders epistocracy inherently incapable of collecting sufficient information about moral facts from the right voting population.
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