The paradoxes of democracy
In the modern humanitarian consciousness, the problems of the contradictions of democracy are discussed. At the dawn of democracy there were many different organizations in which a person could specifically and actively participate in voting for certain decisions or for specific candidates for elected bodies. The questions that were decided in these organizations, like the candidates, were familiar to the person; the vote, often held at a general meeting of the entire population of the city, was a concrete act in which the individual was literally considered.
Today the voter deals with gigantic parties that are as far from him and as he suppresses, like giant industrial corporations. Differences in election programs are complex and become even more difficult because they are obscured by all means. Before the elections, the voter can still see his candidate. In fact, a citizen is offered a choice between two or three candidates from party machines, but he did not choose these candidates, knows almost nothing about them, their relationships for him are as abstract as almost all other relations.
The main ways in which escape from freedom takes place, as Fromm believed, is submission to the leader and forced conformism, which prevails in modern democracy. We are proud that no external authority oppresses us, that we are free to express our thoughts and feelings and are confident that this freedom almost automatically provides us with a manifestation of individuality. By the right to express one's thoughts makes sense only if we are able to have our own thoughts; freedom from external power becomes a lasting asset only if internal psychological conditions allow us to assert our individuality. "
Doubts that democracy is an ideal form of government existed for a long time. Aristotle, for example, put democracy in his typology of political regimes in an unprivileged place. An ancient thinker would probably be surprised to learn that the modern world is inclined to believe that democracy is more suitable for political life than for other types of government.
It is known, for example, that "exemplary" Athenian democracy drove Athens from Themistocles with the words: "You are better than us, and we do not need the best." As already mentioned, people with the right to vote confidently brought the great thinker Socrates to death. Until the XVIII century. nobody appreciated democracy. The construction of a democratic society began after the bourgeois revolutions. We will not mention Tocqueville with his warnings about the "tyranny of the majority" or the Frankfurt people with their expertise on the "authoritarian person" or the danger of popular worship.
In the 1920's. Berdyaev came to the conviction that democracy is completing its historical destiny. "Democracy is formal, it does not know its content," wrote the philosopher, "and, within the limits of the principle it affirms, has no content. Democracy does not want to know, for the sake of which the will of the people is expressed, and does not want to subordinate the will of the people to any higher goal. "
Democracy, according to Berdyaev, is pointless, not directed at any object. Democracy remains indifferent to good and evil. Democracy is secular in nature and is opposed to any sacral society. Democracy, according to the scientist, arises when the organic unity of the people's will disintegrates, when society is atomized, when the popular beliefs that unite the people into a single whole are dying. That is why, according to Berdyaev, the crisis of democracy has long begun.
In the 1960s. many Western intellectuals also announced the demise of democracy. Indeed, did not D. Bell or R. Aron, announcing the "end of ideology", act simultaneously as gravediggers of democracy? Did E. Shils or S. Lipset, when talking about the arrival of the Technocrats, did not mean the decline of democracy?
Suppose we need to plant a forest cover. And what, to ask public opinion? Collect a lot of low-judgmental judgments and start an engineering project based on common opinions? Nonsense. I need an expert, a specialist. It does not require opinions, but calculations. D. Bell believed that democracy is replaced by social engineering, designed with the help of experimental recommendations to debug all aspects of human relations.
However, already in tc years, the above-mentioned rulers of doom began to doubt in their proclamations. R. Aron began to write with anxiety about the fact that pragmatism in the US clearly prevails over morality, and the policy dictated by utilitarian considerations definitely dominates the policy, which is based on principles. Already in the early 1970s. Brzezinski, renouncing his previous views, argued that today those social forces that turn to mass ideals win, take into account people's need for value orientations.
But, perhaps, for these decades, democracy has finally developed its reserves and the world enters a fundamentally new stage of development? Certain reasons in this formulation of the question is. It is sometimes written that over the years of the existence of democracy we have learned, calculated, determined how much a person needs, what his life should be provided, under what conditions he must live, how to use, how to move about fixed subjects, how to build his relationships with other people, with the state. All these norms, principles and parameters have long been standardized, codified and constituted, repeatedly confirmed by international experience, embodied in the relevant charters, conventions, treaties, agreements.
Is this really the reason for the demise of democracy? According to this logic, you can, for example, say: why should you send justice when all the rules are fixed in the criminal procedure and administrative codes? Mankind really knows how to live. It is actually all painted long ago and long for the desired. However, democracy, contrary to Aristotle and Tocqueville, proved to be viable precisely because with every step of society it becomes immeasurably more difficult to reconcile the interests of an increasingly polarized world.
Democracy is not a pattern on the facade of a public building, but a political regime. No one has ever regarded it as the crown of creation, as a gift of God for all time. Any advocate of democracy can find a lot of lamentations about how painful and expensive its costs are. But the better the other political regimes?
We so clearly imagine this era of services and consumption. We leave poverty and stagnation for the socially unsecured strata of the population, they correspond to us, respectively, codified consumption. We are not wasting resources and resources, throwing the national idea onto the market, the masses gratefully accept it through Internet technologies.
Democracy entered a period of deliberate falsification. Modern technology, power solutions, manipulative opportunities increasingly give rise in the political subconscious a seditious thought: rather than abandon this democracy or at least not to give it a decorative character. Sometimes we catch ourselves on a vague assumption: the presidential elections are so expensive, and the results are so inconsolable that it might be more sensible to appoint a leader of the country in a narrow circle of the politburo.
But why these leaders who do not have the necessary legitimacy, disappear in the political supply?
Mankind takes care of all the achievements of political creativity. Scourged tyranny, and monarchy remained. Condemned mob, but even the queen, endowed with unconditional authority, resorts to democratic procedures. They mocked the ochlos, but, as Popper said, they realized that only democratic institutions allow reforms without violence. Democracy did not order to live long. We change our attitude towards it, it changes itself. The fact that the mechanisms of democracy will become different in the 21st century. write many forecasters, including E. Toffler.
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