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    • avery
      Avery

      Let me contrast two visions of how Democracy works, and what we can expect it to achieve.

      The first vision I will call the "Who Should Rule" vision. It is preoccupied with choosing the correct leader, according to some rational criteria- and for Democracy, that criteria is a majority consensus. Immediately, you may see a problem: the majority is no authority on who should be *the* authority- and with every election cycle this is proven to roughly half the US population.

      The approval rate of Congress, as a body, is flirting with single-digit percentages.

      Politicians are commonly considered the epitome of corrupt grifters, paying smirking lip-service to their role as "public servants".

      Demagogues rise to power, while more thoughtful and measured candidates are marginalized.

      Under the "Who Should Rule" vision, Plato's philosopher-king looks like an ideal that Democracy cannot produce. The question "Who Should Rule?" seems intractable to a process that empowers the lowest-common-denominators of society.

      The second vision I will call the "Can We Get Rid Of Him" vision. It is preoccupied with peacefully removing bad rulers, or leaders committed to a position that a demos considers erroneous. This theory of Democracy doesn't shoulder the burden of choosing the Ultimately Good And Rationally Justified Leader, but has a more modest purview: When we have a leader that must go, how can we achieve that with the least bloodshed?

      This second vision of Democracy acknowledges that Democracy cannot infallibly solve the problem of "Who Should Rule", and goes a little further: It explicitly addresses the problem that arises when we find ourselves with the *incorrect* leader. Under democracy, we can correct the error (by voting out a leader/party), but we cannot guarantee that the error will not happen- we are fallible. So far, this error-correction mechanism is unique to Democracy, and should be considered it's defining strength.

      Under the second vision we rely less on the mechanism of Democracy to find someone to answer our political questions and solve our political problems, and we take on the burden of answering political questions ourselves, creatively:

      "How Do We Limit The Damage An Inevitable Bad Leader Can Cause?" becomes a natural question to ask.

      Further:

      How can we create traditions and institutions that can endure the tribulations of an awful ruler?

      How can we ensure that tyranny doesn't install itself in our systems, thwarting our ability to remove it?

      What mechanisms do we rely on to create new and better ways of understanding humanity, society, and the world, so that we may better create these Democratic institutions, and generally continue to solve our ever-more-complex problems?

      This second vision at once relieves Democracy of the impossible burden of infallibly installing the correct ruler, and opens up a whole new vista of engagement with our political world. Once we stop hoping for the answers to come from The Right Gal Or Guy, creating solutions to our society's problems becomes our exciting responsibility.

      Most of this is a (flawed) regurgitation of Karl Popper and David Deutsch's political thought. You can read a little about Karl Popper here:

      https://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2016/01/karl-popper-democracy

      Here's a picture of Baba Yaga (look out!):

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      What an interesting framework to think about democracy. It feels true that we sometimes get swept away en masse with some idea, or the election of some leader, only to look back and wonder what we were thinking.

      For example, when the Bush administration wanted to invade Iraq, there were mass protests worldwide, especially in France. The French asked a simple question: "where's the evidence for chemical weapons?" We countered furiously by wanting to rename French fries to freedom fries, we made fun of the French and boycotted French restaurants.

      But looking back, was their question so bad? Also, democracy got us Hitler, no?

    • yaypie

      This second vision at once relieves Democracy of the impossible burden of infallibly installing the correct ruler, and opens up a whole new vista of engagement with our political world. Once we stop hoping for the answers to come from The Right Gal Or Guy, creating solutions to our society's problems becomes our exciting responsibility.

      Couldn't agree more. 👏

    • cvdavis

      Democracy will be replaced by something better one day. By what? Who knows.

    You've been invited!