Is democracy impossible?

Sometimes when you keep trying to solve a problem and can't, what is holding you back is an assumption. If that assumption is basic enough, it's really hard to see.

What are some of our assumptions in this modern age? I'd look toward our most basic values:

  • Equality

  • Democracy

  • Consumerism

Did I miss any?

Politics in a democracy is rough because people do not react to anything but immediate problems. If it can be put off, it will be — because solutions cause inconvenience, cost and most of all, uncertainty. - Amerika

That's a novel idea: supposing it was democracy holding us back. But problems take a long time to arise in democracy, so only a historian would see that.

The Spearhead and its commenters have come under fire from the usual suspects for being too strident, uncompromising and angry, and for not behaving like obedient little boys. Of course, this is a typical political ploy — point out your opponents’ anger as proof that they are the bad guys. Never mind the fact that many, many men have every reason to be angry; that doesn’t matter. What counts is how slick you are and how reasonable you can appear, even if what you’re proposing is unconscionable. - The Spearhead

That's quite a huge problem there. If the method in which you say something is more important than whether it's true, good-sounding B.S. is going to trump truth every time. But that's kind of what democracy rewards. Someone goes on TV and sounds good, or says things we want to be true, and we elect them.

Laura Wood contributes another valuable viewpoint:

We are a democracy, which means that the people themselves have great power. To say that all immigration is good no matter how much, and no matter how culturally distinct the immigrants may be, is to say that it is not important for those who must join together to shape government to forge a common identity and purpose. That is a recipe for political friction and dissolution.

There have been major economic consequences of this great wave of immigration. What we are addressing here are the cultural effects. - The Thinking Housewife

One of the more insightful bloggers to come from popular culture, Jeff at Plague Haus, got into a discussion of democracy with one of his musical subjects, who then said:

It’s down to the individual what they do. Not everyone has the aptitude for certain acts, nor do they necessarily have the need to commit them. One rather obscure gnostic sect back in the early days of christianity believed that (to put it simply) because creation was a mistake, manmade/god-given laws must also be wrong. Therefore they should endeavor to live their lives breaking as many laws as possible. - PlagueHaus

Without a clear purpose, life does seem to be an accident, and rules arbitrary impositions that should be broken. Does democracy cultivate this idea in us? If our societies respond slowly to threats, and discourse becomes a bog through which few which to slog, then we slowly sink into paralysis and give up on the rules having any meaning.


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