Friday, April 20, 2012

An Argument About The Future Of Democracy

1. People know the social roles they play are arbitrary and changeable, yet they know the role playing works: life goes on even though the relation between all the "false" roles is unexamined, the exact mechanism of cooperation is unknown.

2. People in our democracies accept the game of choosing politicians on the basis of the stories they tell (small government, big government, independence, cooperation). Yet all the while they know the politician story-tellers are corrupt, that no story will ever be the script for future action and what really happens is hidden behind the scenes and remains unknown. Somehow though they think things will work out.

3. If this similarity reflects a shared mechanism, then role playing is a danger to democracy.

4. Falseness in role play is a kind of overspecialization. We go too far into our jobs, knowing they are not all we are, that we're taking ourselves away from ourselves by acting as if they are. Overspecialization makes personal life less satisfying but social life more functional.

5. Corruption in politics does the same. Individuals by their role play betray their humanity, government officials by their falseness and special interests betray their relation to the people.

6. Corrupt governments can function, but not be democratic. Democracy is impossible without a true relation of government to the people, because it is only there that something in common can be found, that a single state can be said to exist.

7. Patching and mending the "anything for success" role play with charity, recreational kindness, love in spare time, might make life better for all, but won't solve the political problem. Placing technical performance first keeps people vulnerable to the story telling of politicians. They will go on transferring their belief in the "magic" unknown success of their false role playing in their personal lives to the belief in the "magic" unknown success of a government led by the corrupt politicians they elect.

8. Only placing first the search for what makes our lives good, and second the practical aspects of life, can democracy be saved. Only by becoming more human can we hope to have a government fit for humans.

See: How To Read Plato's Republic