We need to get smart about improving our institutional defects.
Because it is becoming more and more difficult to discuss political opinions openly without being slandered as a racist or a sexist.
Because if we don’t we are looking at a form of unregulated direct democracy run by social media popularism with no long-term thinking.
You might think this is trivial compared to other world problems but if we are to have any chance to address climate change, immigration, inequality, and the like we need stable leadership now more than ever.
It is no wonder if you live in a country where you are mired in poverty and constant violence you could not be blamed for thinking that’s what democracy is.
You wouldn’t want it eighter.
In 2018 saw many elections worldwide where voters vote did not matter- Hungary, Russia, Venezuela. Poland the USA.
More voting does, not = freedom. If you are in any doubt just look at where Venezuela or Hungary are.
So can Democracy be restored or has too much damage been done?
Its worldwide acceptance today that Democracy is the best of imperfect options for managing society.
However, as people realize that democracy can go hand in hand with populism, isolationism, and even racism it strives to balance individual liberty with public order.
What we are witnessing is more and more begging on our TV screens for funds to save everything from whales to homeless people.
While Social Media is encouraging individual self-interest, non-corporation between countries, profit for profit sake, confusion, and downright madness. It is facilitating both pro-democracy and anti-protest, spreading false news and information to bye pass the gatekeeps giving rise to nationalist-populists who don’t seem inclined to prioritize strengthening democracy, their constituencies must at least appreciate having had the democratic opportunity to put them in power.
But have the very widespread democratic aspirations of people around the world declined?
I suspect not, but I am concerned that the structures and processes that enable fulfilment of those aspirations may be eroding and that there is a lack of international leadership in countering that erosion.
The inability in many countries to deliver broadly shared prosperity, the increased distance of the political class from everyday citizens and rampant corruption in many nations will be crucial as democratic and authoritarian leaders alike decide their trajectories.
There are, however, people on the streets yelling for increased equality in income, opportunity, and government efficacy.
These are the concepts at the very heart of well-functioning democracies.
It’s a decidedly wimpy and unexciting word and it often inspires derision as a kind of pallid purgatory for those afraid to take bold action or propound creative political ideas.
Centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism.
Humans are not infinitely flexible or perfectible. They cannot use reason to transcend fully their basic impulses and prejudices.
Centrism, then, is defined by a number of assumptions and tendencies; it is not defined by policy dogmas.
Civilization is a brilliant achievement, and the centrist wishes to celebrate it. But such a celebration doesn’t require ignoring its flaws or discouraging innovations.
Societies and polities are incredibly complicated and our understanding of the way social systems and human nature interact is excruciatingly limited.
Ideas that require significant harm today to bring about a better tomorrow are particularly pernicious. Uncertainty about the future requires humility and a commitment to order and well-being in the here and now.
Although science cannot solve all social problems, it is the best instrument we have for measuring the success or failure of particular policies.
It is important, therefore, to protect vigilantly free speech and free inquiry so that the best ideas are rigorously debated in the public forum.
Political ideologies tend to blind people to the best policies.
One should not seek a “conservative” answer to poverty or a “liberal” answer to immigration.
Because humans are naturally tribal, factionalism is easy to create and dangerous for a broader cooperative union among dissimilar peoples.
It is useful to be sceptical of human nature in the broad sense but to be charitable to individuals, especially in the domain of public discourse. This charity encourages free and pleasant public debate and discourse; and, all things equal, free debate leads to the best solutions to complicated social problems.
2019 will see an election in the European Union and it is highly unlikely that any political party has a monopoly on truth.
However, Europe must seek the best answer. to balance the will of the majority with the rights of the minority, so that the powerful many, cannot trample the few.
Because warning signs are flashing red – Democracy is under threat.
THERE MUST BE REFORM NOT PROMISES in order to allow citizens to change previously made decisions.
Perhaps today’s problem resides in the erosion of the power democracies have to comply with this norm or promises. Yet this is a problem connected to the power of the sovereign state, rather than democracy.
The EU must prove to citizens that it can deliver tangible dividends in a consistent, transparent manner.
Democracy derives its attractiveness from its ability to absorb a wide variety of hopes, desires, and fears, which can include the desire to put strong men in power – Hilter
It’s reassuring to think authoritarian governments depart with their leaders.
It’s also wrong.
That government within the EU are “social contract” between people and their rulers, which can be dissolved if rulers fail to promote the people’s welfare.
It will be its ability or inability to deliver both economically and politically, which will be fueling populism.
It’s not too long ago that the nations of Europe were led by monarchs, who exercised the divine right of kings and owed little or no consideration to the will of their subjects.
Democracy surely never had much appeal for “strongmen” who seem ascendant in various parts of the world.
History is on the side of the oppressed, not their oppressors.
Rising political polarization and populism signal dissatisfaction and if not addressed will divide the public into intolerant communities.
To counter all of this the EU should issue guaranteed peoples Bonds to allow its citizen member to invest in its future.
These bonds would allow its, citizens and businesses, to connect directly with rewards for doing so.
The Funds could be granted by an Independent, total transparent elected EU Citizens Organisation, independent from the EU budget, Commission or Parlement at a fixed rate of repayment into projects that encouraged sustainability, promoting environmental improvements, infrastructure, health, reduced cost of energy etc.
We cannot turn a blind eye to what I call Algorithms Democracy giving political power to the uninformed.
The larger point is either we are capable of self-rule or we are not.
The democratizing and decentralizing of information of the last few decades should improve our ability to engage in political discourse more effectively by loosening controls over who produces or provide information.
If it doesn’t, the fault will lie with ourselves.
It is as much up to us to use that freedom and resource carefully and responsibly, as it was up to the Athenian citizen to listen warily to the smooth-talking orators.
All human comments appreciated. All abuse or like clicks chucked in the bin.