As of the second half of century XX, ‘Democracy’ became the dominant term used by every politician and in every political lexicon, constituting the base category around which politicians could chose positions, and by which we constantly confront all our actions, relations and ideas.
The ‘intensive extensive’ use of the term have reached a point whereby democracy mutated into an idolatrous all-embracing concept, almost sacred to be worshiped, and the synthesis of all good and beautiful things regarding the life of a state, a society, even of the family and that of the individuals among themselves.
The ‘novelty’, other than the overwhelming diffusion of the term, stay within the “Positive Connotation” which democracy is assuming in an unprecedented unquestioned undisputed way. For long before our times, and since the age of ancient civilisations, the term democracy was associated with the idea defining the “Government of the Mass” that is ignoring its limits, lacking values, selfish, extremist, uncontrollable, arrogant, factious and unstable; thus an easy prey for professional or adventurous ‘demagogues’.
Democracy at those times was a model indeed, yet a negative model.. A disgrace that must be avoided.. Plato described it as the “regime in which the people adore being adulated rather than educated”. He saw in it the diffusion, among many, of that ‘arbitrary unrestrained liberty’ that he calls the “Licence”, and which in Oligarchy becomes the privilege of the few. He said: “a similar government does not give any thought of the studies that must be attended to acquire the adequate preparation for the political life, instead it would honour anyone whom by the least would come forward as the Friend Of The People”*!
For the first time in man’s history, after the defeat of the Totalitarian Dictatorships in WWII, democracy received the recognition as the ideal unique definition for all the political and social organisational systems. Indeed since none of the regimes (republican, monarchic or oligarchic; capitalist or socialist; liberal or social; multiple parties or mono-party; representative or based on charismatic self investiture…etc) intended to renounce the self qualification as Democratic.
Ever since last century’s bloody WWII, we saw all around our sick planet earth people arrested, tortured, deprived of their basic human and civil rights, even slain and killed; all in the name of Democracy and for protecting it.
But much longer before that, and for over eight centuries in our parts, the God Fearing Religious References Custodians of the Faith (lest very few exceptions) kept teaching and reassuring us the endless virtues of always following serenely, trustfully and blindly men chosen by ‘Fate’ to lead our destinies by the ‘Will of Allah’ towards glory and prosperity.
Even though we have not as yet reached the destination they kept promising us as guaranteed; instead our great grand fathers across the time until our fathers had to combat wars, sacrifice lives, waste fortunes, suffer poverty and contract hunger at the incense burners’ calls in the name of People or Country and God.. And today most of us still manifest that pathologic faith in their blathered prophecies for the never close futuristic victories over poverty, ignorance and sickness just because this time their call is in the name of Freedom, Justice and Democracy.
All the war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.
Pass On The Word.
PS: This article is inspired from G. Zagrebelsky’s book ‘Learning Democracy’ – 2005 L’Espresso editor.*Republic, Book VIII – Plato.