Summing Up: Threats Against Democracy

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Democracy is not a form of government which can be introduced once and for all, and can then just look after itself. Democracy is a process. It is dependent on its citizens and it must be created all day, every day!

It rests on many different factors and there are many things that can undermine democracy and the democratic society.

However, if democracy is not to become just as bleak and totalitarian as everything that is threatening it, and end up as a stagnant, petrified majority dictatorship or a technocracy, then it needs to contain small elements of some of the threats to it: a sprinkling of anarchy, a dash of religion, a dollop of monarchy, a pinch of humbug and a good helping of bread and circuses. It must base its economy on a constantly changing mix of capitalism and socialism, and it must be open for people from time to time to establish associations that are a bit rough around the edges; but when these associations reach a critical size or incite to violence, it is the job of democracy to intervene and close them down - but not until then.

Democracy is a system of government which has to contain its own opposite in small quantities in order to survive according to its own definition, because it is precisely democracy that is the guarantor of diversity. The trick is to find the right balance, and it is in that balance that democracy's constant struggle for survival lives on. It is a process that is constantly in its moment of creation, in its coming into being; a process which never stops.


Next chapter: About the Future of Democracy