Democracy, we know, comes from Greek and it means “the rule of the people.” The current power struggle in America shows one thing very clearly: There is no rule of the people in America.
That is, there may have been a rule of the people in America, though a brief one, but when you let the people rule, what you get is tyranny. It does not matter whether the tyranny is portrayed as democratic, pretending to reflect the will of the people, or as it truly is: repressive despotism.
The problem with democracy is not that it’s a bad idea. Freedom, equality, and justice for all are noble notions. Regrettably, they cannot happen. They never happened and they never will until we teach ourselves the values required to even talk about freedom and equality. Since we’ve never been taught it, we’ve never had a democracy. We’ve had plenty of bogus, manipulative governments who pretended to care for the well-being of the people while actually seeing to the continuation of their own control. And because we’ve never been taught how, or even why we should all be equal and free, we’ve always eventually succumbed to our basic, egotistical nature and tore off the democratic mask from the face of an actual dictatorship.
“Look, for example, at what is happening to the First Amendment today. Is there free speech in America? Is everyone encouraged, or even permitted to express what they really think? The public arena is governed by street gangs and online gangs, and anyone who steps out of line is immediately straightened out or silenced. And when you have no freedom of speech, you also have no equality, and therefore no democracy.”
Simply put, democracies rise and fall because they don’t coincide with human nature. When an unnatural social structure is imposed on society, society eventually rejects it, however noble it may be, and retreats to its savage nature. If you want a truly noble society, which lives by noble principles, first make its people noble and then they will construct a noble society of their own accord, since this will be their nature.
One look at what is happening in America today shows you the level of education for nobleness that Americans have today. It may be painful to accept, but unless we accept the facts, how will we be able to change them?
Look, for example, at what is happening to the First Amendment today. Is there free speech in America? Is everyone encouraged, or even permitted to express what they really think? The public arena is governed by street gangs and online gangs, and anyone who steps out of line is immediately straightened out or silenced. And when you have no freedom of speech, you also have no equality, and therefore no democracy.
If you want to build a genuine democracy, you have to start from the premise that there is more than one opinion. If there is only one opinion, even if it is your own, then you should know that your society is not democratic. Uniformity of opinions should be your first warning sign. No two people have the exact same opinion, and certainly not an entire country. So when only one voice is heard, it is, by default, a non-democratic society.
Once you have two or more opinions, you have to know how to relate to them. You should know people’s views differ because they see reality from different perspectives. However, they are all looking at the same reality, which means that they are all seeing only part of the picture and not all of it. So, every part that you exclude from the pool of perspectives makes everyone’s perspective more deficient, flawed, partial, and therefore unfit for making the right decisions. Only when all the different views are valued and included in the decision-making process can you reach a result that benefits the entire collective, and which is therefore sustainable. Otherwise, you are bound to create another “democracy,” the kind we’ve seen throughout history, which is here today and gone tomorrow.
For this reason, the rule of thumb in building a sustainable society, established on true freedom and equality for all, is the nurturing of diversity of views, refusal to silence any voice, and building a society that incorporates all those differences, and whose members value the union among them more than they value their own opinions.