Is the value of democracy purely instrumental?
To put it another way: if 'the republic' truly worked, would it be better than the misfiring democracies that we see in the world?
This is a hard one. If you think, as did Kant, for instance (see his fine essay, "What is Called 'Enlightenment'" or Mill (read "On LIberty") that there is a special non-instrumental value in being a free participant in a public sphere where ideas and views can enter into dialogue with one another, and that this opportunity is essential to being a flourishing person, not just a means to increasing GDP, then the value of democracy is non-instrumental. I, for one, believe this.