DEMOCRACY INSTEAD OF
When democracy is believed to fail or is not vigorous
enough to be defended, it will easily revert to the absolute
rule of one person or family or a small omnipotent political or
military body. This dictatorship will present strong arguments for
its suspension or abolition of the democratic system.
With these arguments it often conceals its fears of the participation in
government of certain socioeconomic classes and of
denominational, ethnic or
linguistic groups whose presence it does not consider desirable, to say
The conditions which are responsible for the outbreak of a
civil or international war are very much similar to the
conditions under which a dictatorship can come into being. The
same exclusive attitude which motivates some individuals to
aggress against fellow-citizens or other nations induces them to
attack a democratic system for the sole benefit of a privileged
minority, or to support such an attack.
No society is democratic because those in power allow the
country to be ruled by politicians who have the same or similar
political and denominational convictions as they have themselves.
Just as freedom cannot be measured by the fact that it
permits conformity, but only by the degree in which it allows
deviation from the standards, so democracy cannot be measured by
the fact that it permits politicians of a limited range of
political creeds to rule, but only by the fact that it allows
politicians of any political creed (in which people's moral
right to personhood is respected)
to rule when the people so
prefer. It is not until the majority of the people elect
representatives whose ideology significantly deviates from the
beliefs of those in power that it may turn out that a country
has never been a democracy. The powerful conspirators behind the
screens who take on the rule of the country themselves in such a
case, only remove the last resemblance of a democratic system.
In their exclusionist opinion it had never been acceptable to
permit politicians with certain political or denominational
ideals essentially different from their own to have a major say
in the country's affairs.
Democracy as a form of government in which the power is officially vested
in nothing else than the majority of the citizens of a country is in
itself a fertile soil for dictatorship.
Altho almost all
adults may have the right to vote and to be elected in such a system, any
majority of voters has absolute power over any minority of voters, even
when that minority represents up to 49% of the population.
Many issues in democratic societies can be reduced to the question
whether party or coalition A will be able to impose its own values on B, or
whether party or coalition B will be able to impose its own values on A.
It is in such an atmosphere of majoritarian competition
that one party might simply forget that it needs at least
51% of the votes to impose its ideology on the nation, and if it
happens to have powerful connections, or if it knows to operate
strategically, a dictatorship is easily established, if only
that of a state in which solely one party or coalition has and
can have legal status.
Democracy as such does not guarantee inclusive equality, albeit that
individual democratic countries may guarantee certain rights of certain
minorities or near-majorities (such as both sexes) in their constitutions.
On the other hand, a political system based on inclusive equality (and the
right to personhood in particular) would be a democratic one in that no
minority could impose its own values on the majority of people.
But it would differ from other democratic systems in that a majority could
only override a minority where there is no other choice than uniformity,
that is, where differentiation to accommodate the preferences or
convictions of different groups or individuals is impossible; impossible
simultaneously and impossible in the course of time.
The decision in question must, then, not in any way depend on other
decisions or systems which were or are somehow discriminatory.
Only in such a society need democracy not degenerate into an
institutionalized fight of exclusivism against exclusivism above which
the threatening sword of dictatorship will hang forever.
Not seldom is the exclusive attitude of dictatorial rulers
complemented by an exclusive attitude of those ruled over. In
addition to the fact that the dictatorial rulers and the people
ruled over may share a common fear of the same ideological,
ethnic or linguistic group, or of the emergence of a certain
social class, the desire of the rulers to rule may be complemented
by the desire of the others to be ruled. Or, it may be
complemented by their belief that it is normal that there is one
or a small number of omnipotent leaders surrounded by an endless
mass of obedient minions. Especially in societies which have a strong
organization it is believed to be natural
that a higher level in the hierarchy has absolute power over
lower levels, and that the man at the top of this theodemonical
hierarchy is an infallible fuehrer in his field. In the ideology
of these organizations even the supreme being itself is claimed
to be an absolute and almighty ruler commanding reverent fear
and submission from the believers.
The male at the top of the human part of the hierarchy is said to be its
(or 'His') present representative in the material universe: not showing
deep respect for him and his orders is interpreted as disrespect for the
It is evident that such beliefs and such organizations, which glorify the
concentration of power in one person or personified being, prepare common
people to unconditionally surrender themselves to the autocratic of
potentates, not only in the religious organization but also in the
political organization of the state.
When there is a personal union between the ruler(s) of the state and the ruler(s) of the mono- or polytheist (temple) society
concerned, or when these rulers cooperate very closely, the acceptance of
religious, political or military dictatorship by those who adhere to the
particular religion, or to one of a collection of kindred religions, will
be very easy indeed.
In submitting to the control of the dictator the susceptible are made to
feel as if they were administered the first rights by the supreme being
Using the word god in the pragmatic sense of the most powerful
leader(s) of the community of believers it
is, perhaps, a fact that they are directed by (the) 'god'.
However, these theonomous pawns do not realize that this does not mean
that they would be directed by (the) supreme being itself in any way or
in any sense.
The difference which exists between the inclusive attitude and the
exclusive attitude is of fundamental significance for the establishment
and maintenance of a democratic system which is not apt to be
replaced with a dictatorship at a later moment.
Any exclusivist belief, feeling or
contribute directly or indirectly, intentionally or inadvertently to the
emergence of the exclusivist attitude both among those in power and among
those they are likely to lord it over, and thus to the possible emergence
of a dictatorship.
However solemnly human beings may profess democracy, it is the
inclusiveness of their beliefs, feelings and practises which counts, not
only in the fields which are clearly related to the institution of
democracy proper but in all fields.