Democracy

“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.”–Aristotle

I deliberately chose the Aristotle quote to begin today’s post because Aristotle was not a big fan of democracy. He was quite cynical about it, but not because he loved dictatorships.

“Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.”–Aristotle

This second quote seems more germane to the state of things in the United States as it stands right now. The dumbing down of America, especially regarding the topics of civics and the U.S. Constitution, has brought us to this dangerous place in our checkered history. We are at a tipping point. Will we continue along the path we traveling–asleep at the wheel–or will we jolt ourselves awake to avoid getting stuck the ditch filled with murky corruption?

It’s hard to get away from the constant barrage of advertising by candidates, political parties, and the like. The result, however, is burn-out and apathy from the voting public. Each year, the amount of money spent on political–specifically presidential advertising– increases exponentially. The individuals and the party that spend the most usually win the election. Entire fortunes are flushed into campaigns for higher office. By nature, people hate advertising. There is so much political advertising that I wonder if the overall goal is to engender more apathy and cynicism so that fewer people will be enthusiastic about voting.

I stumbled upon an insightful statement while researching architectural styles the other day. It reminded me that esteemed architect Frank Lloyd Wright espoused controversial views. “A free America… means just this: individual freedom for all, rich or poor, or else this system of government we call democracy is only an expedient to enslave man to the machine and make him like it.” Then I decided to Google “Wright’s political views”. I came across another interesting passage that directly links his architecture with politics. The quote relates to the corner window in particular:

“The corner-window is indicative of an idea conceived, early in my work, that the box is a fascist symbol, and the architecture of freedom and democracy needed something basically better than the box. So I started to destroy the box as a building. Well, the corner-window came in as all the comprehension that was ever given to that act of destruction of the box. The light now came in where it had never come in before and vision went out. You had screens for walls instead of box walls–here the walls vanished as walls, the box vanished as a box.”

If you are interested in an architect who literally thought outside of the box you may wish to investigate Frank Lloyd Wright.

Another noteworthy individual from the past to consider is Walter Cronkite. He embodied the true nature of a good journalist. With today’s manufactured distrust of the media, it is important to remember that journalism is the unofficial “fourth estate” of government. Journalism aka the media, keeps tabs on the powers that be. Good journalism reports and lets the chips fall where they will. Unfortunately, in this age of corporate consolidation there is a serious failure of media competition. Cronkite worried that the ownership of media companies had fallen into fewer and fewer hands. This situation is a very serious handicap to the distribution of essential information to the citizens. If Walter Cronkite was alive today, he would probably be greatly alarmed at the consolidation of corporate media interests.

The point I’m trying to make is that ignorance is poison to a democratic republic. Ignorance is the tool that tyrants cultivate among their followers. Education and intellectual curiosity are the antidotes to ignorance. Everyone can read the U.S. Constitution–it’s on the Web and it’s not a particularly lengthy document. We don’t have to consume material from pundits and echo chambers. There is a lot of informative material that has been created by people from across the spectrum of political theory. Explore outside the box of political dogmas. Great fiction and non-fiction books have been written that are not political screeds.

A post like this can only point to democratic values. It is up to each citizen to educate her or himself objectively. Politics doesn’t have to be reserved only for people who can spend millions of dollars on candidates that represent their interests. Citizens are Americans–not mere cogs to be used by political parties. This holds true for my readers in other nations, too. You are citizens of your countries and not just pawns to be used by politicians and political parties.

Today is the International Day of Democracy. It is a good time to rededicate ourselves to the highest ideals of democracy. The future of freedom for all depends upon it.

Ciao
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes author and screenwriter, Ray Bradbury. “If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy. But if you don’t know how to read, you don’t know how to decide. That’s the great thing about our country–we’re a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Controversy, cultural highlights, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Democracy

  1. It is apparent that politicians on the right are currently willing to trade democratic values to maintain power and privilege.

  2. Dear BlueJay,

    It seems that we both like Pink Floyd and Frank Lloyd Wright. And the second words in both their names are very similar to each other.

    Speaking of “getting stuck the ditch filled with murky corruption”, the USA is now mired in protracted and worsening political trench warfare.

    Referring to the POTUS’s business track record, given that he has had six bankruptcies, it may be stated (concretely, figuratively or otherwise) that his seventh bankruptcy will involve not just his businesses but the USA as a whole, and the scopes will not just pertain to the economic sphere but also the moral, sociocultural, political, civil, governmental, constitutional, judicial, ministerial and environmental domains.

    Whilst Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet, the planet of America has already ascended to plutocracy, being plagued in varying degrees by post-truth politics, demagoguery, ochlocracy, oligarchy, kleptocracy and narcissistic leadership, plus other complex issues extensively discussed in my much extended and continually improved post at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-quotation-fallacy/

    I also agree with you that journalism is indeed the “fourth estate” of government, and is under great pressure and assault. However, what journalism is facing is much more than just corporate consolidation and failure of media competition, as you can find out from reading my said post.

    I also agree with you that “ignorance is poison to a democratic republic”, though I have highlighted in my post many other factors in relation to the erosion of democratic principles, civil societies and social norms.

    Thank you for composing this post and sharing your recent findings with us, BlueJay.

  3. swabby429 says:

    Thank you for your extensive comments. The current administration causes immense grief to millions of people, me included. All I can do is write editorials, canvass door to door, and vote.

  4. Deepak Joshi says:

    Democracy is what most serious topic should be discussed and its on his declintion.
    I have my personal views on that ,,hope u will.like it

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