In his August 7 op-ed, the latest in a series for Bloomberg View, HLS Professor Noah Feldman discusses the perception of U.S. democracy in light of the government’s recent debt crisis.

“The real story of the debt-ceiling showdown is not that democracy is pathological. It is, rather, that the electoral system—even when plagued by partisanship—is the best ever devised to defang angry citizens and the political movements they form,” writes Feldman. “Once again, U.S. democracy has demonstrated that it is a machine for generating moderation and preserving the ideological center.”

Feldman, who was announced as a regular columnist for Bloomberg View in April, is the author of several books, including “Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Justices,” (Twelve Books 2010). The American Bar Association recently selected “Scorpions” to receive its Silver Gavel Award, which recognizes works that are exemplary in fostering the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. “Scorpions” was also selected as the best legal book of the year by Scribes, the American Society of Legal Writers, winning its 2011 Book Award.

Debt-deal disaster shows genius of U.S. democracy

By Noah Feldman

Imagine you are a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party trying to figure out whether democracy is a good idea. The brinkmanship over raising the debt ceiling is a prime example for the argument that democracy is irrational, right?

So say the commentators, one and all. Just think of the relief you would feel as a Chinese official knowing that you will never have to deal with anyone as crazy as the Tea Party—except maybe by locking them up.

But you would be wrong. More significant than the Tea Partiers’ willingness to push things to the edge was their ultimate judgment not to go over it. … Read the full op-ed on »