A Few Sad Aspects of Democracy

When Winston Churchill said “Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time”, he might have ignored one thing: the democracy as we know today had also been tried from time to time, and might become one of “all the others”.

Although people living in democratic countries have all experienced this or that kind of problems of the democratic systems, when it comes to the question of how we can do better than the democracy as we know today, most people would do as Churchill did seven decades ago, by comparing democracy to all other political systems that have failed in the past. Consequently, after the democracy has been practiced on this globe for a couple of millenniums, the earth populace is still generally ignorant of some fundamental logical deficiencies of democracy as I will elaborate in this short essay.

First, the democratic voting is logically a package deal, no matter how it is implemented, in the sense that the supporters of a candidate (or a party) have to accept the whole candidate (or the whole party) during the election, even though they don’t like some part of the policy of that candidate (or the party). This is because the alternative given by the democratic election would be to vote the rival of the candidate (or the party) in, which would be unacceptable for those supporters. A sad fact is that most people have not realized that this package deal is not a trivial or ignorable byproduct of democracy; instead, the very package deal nature of democracy has become a key element of the political game in any democratic society, and accordingly the logical root cause of many social problems in democratic countries;

Second, democracy often be used as the excuse for not doing good things or for doing not good things, and when that kind of situations occur, people would find it is much harder to fight against anything that bears the aura of the democratic procedures. This is a very common scenario around the world, and the extensiveness of its occurrence reflects the logical certainty behind it: it is difficult for the people to fight against themselves, just as is said by a famous adage, “the biggest enemy of any group of people is themselves.” It is just morally much harder for people to fight against anything that are nominally determined by themselves through voting, than against the notorious bad things done by a few notorious bad guys.

Third, the package deal nature of democracy could further promote the game of less bad instead of encouraging the citizens to pursue the common better for the society. The following link provides a more detailed discussion about the game of less bad: https://fairlifebook.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/the-sad-package-deal-of-democracy/


Although democracy does have its advantages over many other forms of political system, without the awareness of its logical deficiency we might simply miss the correct direction for human civilization to move forward, especially at this critical crossroad moment of history when our civilization is facing the pressure of being replaced by man-made intelligent machines, as well as many long-ignored spiritual challenges.

We might find more defects in the fundamental democratic logic (which are independent of how a democratic system is implemented). However, before we further look into the defective side of democracy, it would still be meaningful for us to remember the positive side of democracy by comparing it with other failed political systems, as Churchill did. In that way, we might avoid swinging from one extreme to another as it has habitually happened in the history of our civilization......


Rongqing Dai, Ph.D.

Rongqing Dai is an author who comes from a science and engineering background with a Ph.D. from McGill University. For the past decade, I have been devoted to philosophically bent fiction and nonfiction writing to explore the dynamic logic behind the cultural, economic, and political happenings around the world. Currently I am in the transition from my science and engineering background to the philosophically bent literature writing career.

Comments Join The Discussion