The inherent paradox of Democracy… democracy is sometimes bad for democracy.
Let me define Education as teaching or unfolding a process which encourages the development of: critical thinking, philosophy, dialectics, math, knowledge, logic, art, the scientific method, self-care, spirituality, mindfulness, reflection, systemics, and the development of dialectic maturity, open-mindedness, empathy, compassion, and gratitude among many many other things.
Democracy needs education to function properly; without an informed electorate it would be unclear as to what any given person’s vote was based on… this turns voting into a game of chance where we the people are choosing one person or policy based on either no information, false information, or fallacious information.
Yet the freedoms inherent in democracy allows for the electorate to vote against policies which would ensure that the electorate was properly informed. We can democratically choose to deny the resources needed for us to be properly informed … in such an instance it is actually democracy which causes the dysfunction of democracy.
Democracy is a form of government which allows the citizens the privilege of voting for the best policies to govern the direction of the republic. This privilege becomes the source of our oppression when we choose collectively (and democratically) to vote in policies which deny us the ability to make decisions in our best interests.
This can and is happening in a number of ways in our shared country – USA (and many others)
There are two main policies that are needed for a democracy to function adequately in relation to an informed electorate:
1.) Democracy necessitates policies which protect an appropriate amount of educational resources so that we may offer a proper education to all our citizens.
Without an educated electorate, we are denying our citizens the ability to make informed decisions. This can lead us into making decisions that are simply not accurate or decisions which lack an understanding of the potential consequences. For example we could all vote to conserve water in our district by cutting down all the trees (which ‘drink’ lots of water). Through education we could come up with alternate policy suggestions that would not be so detrimental to our local geography.
Denying an education can make us ill prepared to deduce the validity of a potential solution. For example, the populace could be persuaded to vote in a policy to reduce drug use when that same policy has been studied to actually increase drug use in other counties. In this way, the electorate may have the best of intentions, but they would be voting in ways which manifested the opposite result of that which they intended.
Finally, denying education can leave us without the tools to identify a fallacy. For example, the populace can be persuaded not to vote for a well validated solution on the grounds that the person who came up with the solution has a morally questionable family member… the fallacy being that a solution can be invalidated by the morality of the people involved with the solution (if I say ice cream is cold, is there anything related to my morals which could be used to dispute the validity of the statement?)
Without a high standard of education the populace is essentially controlled by propaganda… then very ironically our freewill becomes the very thing that leads to our own subjugation. When we democratically deny ourselves education we remove our ability to use democracy in a way which serves the interests of the populace instead, democracy becomes the tool of the informers to use propaganda to control the populace while the populace lives with the perception that they have power and choice (as they believe that their vote is a reflection of their will and not a reflection of unconscious persuasion).
2.) A Democracy needs policies to ensure regulations exist which protect the citizens from fallacies, misinformation, lying, and other forms of conscious and unconscious social manipulation (especially in relation to the appointment of representatives in a representative democracy – the US is a representative democracy = we vote for people to vote on our behalf.)
It would be somewhat of an unrealistic expectation to have a mean level of education which protected the populace from being manipulated by the use of some very intelligent devices.
We need some sort of policies to protect us from misinformation. There is simply too much information for the average person to be able to check the validity of every statement they intend to use in formulating their decision (to make a vote). Currently it does not appear that we have adequate regulations in place to ensure that politicians and news stations are not misleading or misinforming the electorate. The difficulty with the issue is that a medium does not have to flat out lie in order for a majority of the population to arrive at a false conclusion. For example, a huge portion of the country still believes that the Iraqi Government had something to do with 9 11 (I don’t think that any representative believes this to be true) … the electorate made many important votes based on this misinformation… many people are in office because of this misinformation. It can be advantageous to misinform the public… in relation to capitalism, misinformation can lead to larger profits… in relation to political or other social escalation, misinformation can lead to the attainment of much desired power and promotion. Some people want more power and some people want more money… how can we protect the general public from those select individuals who would use their free will to intentionally mislead the public to use democracy as a tool of their narcissism?
I do have a couple potential solutions for misinformation… one, every political add should go through a control group – if the group was not informed of validated information the add should not air (additionally if the add was shown to pass on no information that could be used to make an informed decision… for example if the add was simply an irrelevant or subjective criticism… the add should not air). Two, no program should be allowed to call themselves the ‘news’ unless their audience is studied to have a low misinformation rating. Whether or not a medium lied, any party should have to make a statement if stats display that they misinformed the public… so if 80% of people who watch a News show concluded that frosty the snow man exists then the station could be held responsible for properly informing their viewers.
Fallacies can be difficult for even the most attuned philosopher to uncover… and sometimes even when a person knows that a statement is fallacious; they still may have been unconsciously persuaded due to the way they were emotionally impacted by the fallacy.
Additionally, overgeneralizations and intentionally manipulating the public with ‘moral’ issues has diminished the public’s ability to vote in ways which would actually manifest positive solutions.
I am going to use a very heated example, so please excuse me if I offend anyone…
I sometimes am driven to conclude that the abortion debate is being used by both parties as a means of psychologically manipulating people to vote for their representatives. Instead of focusing on a collaborative and less divisive solution (such as reducing unwanted pregnancies) the representatives are persuading us to vote on values (such as “I believe in increasing women’s rights” or “I believe in protecting life and promoting health”). Additionally, they are encouraging us to focus on over-generalizations that would not be so complicated if we simply deconstructed the problem a bit… the problem is that people are voting to validate the a value (and the legitimacy of their ego) rather than voting on a solution which could positively impact manifestation of their value. For this topic, what if a representative proposed a set of policies which would reduce rape in this country and afford all women with the health and education services that have been validated to reduce unwanted pregnancies? This could end up helping or country to manifest both values (which were never exclusive of each other). If we allow people the freedom to manipulate us based on our values in political contexts than we are not allowing the democracy to select solutions which would help to implement our values in a constructive way.
The solution is solutions… I have developed a solution engine which I will talk about in a future blog = the solution engine is called ‘Dialectic And Deconstruction Solutions’.
Political adds should contain deconstructed (simplified) solutions which are cognizant of the benefits and negatives which are inherent in any solution or action. Political attacks which are simply bullying the opponent or are being used to question the morality of a person or group of people should be removed. Democracy demands that the electorate has something to vote on…
Democracy defeated itself when we democratically arrived at a point at which we are voting for people who are not responsible for proposing coherent dialectically compassionate solutions.
In this way we have uncovered another necessity to democracy = the electorate has to have something specific to vote.
I wonder how much this has to do with the way that we subjectively interpret the value of ‘freedom’… is it so important that we have the freedom to democratically arrive at a place where we can remove education and solutions from our democracy?
The Dialectics of Democracy
Requiring a Politician to propose a solution in a set way is a violation of their freedom which enables the collective to have the freedom to govern the democracy.
Requiring the adherence to a strict standard of education removes the democracies freedom to remove its’ freedom to make informed decisions.