Rhetorical Deliberation and Democratic Politics in the Here and Now

This essay advances the notion that democratic deliberation at its best in the here and now is primarily rhetorical. A "rowdy" rhetorical conception of deliberation, in the reconstructive spirit of the mythical figure of Old Man Coyote, is well adapted to meeting the present conditions of what Chantal Mouffe calls agonistic pluralism. The democratic deficit created in the absence of such a conception is illustrated with reference to the so-called "war" on terrorism following the attack of September 11, 2001.