In democracy, politics is the art of misdirection.
Whether you believe in democracy as a virtuous and working system depends strictly upon where you fall, between your urge to be heard, and your distrust of your fellow citizens' ability to make competent political choices.
If getting your voice heard is important enough to overshadow the risk of idiots contributing the majority of the vote, congratulations : you do believe in democracy.
If deep down you're terrified by the idiots having any sort of say in public matters, and realize your own opinions may not be that interesting, congratulations : you don't believe in democracy.
…yet you likely are even more afraid of something else, like communism or dictatorship, and democracy sounds like the lesser of many evils.
Here's a series of well-know facts about us all — they're truisms, but they'll come handy in a minute:
- Most people are idiots.
- Most people believe most people are idiots.
- Most idiots don't know they are.
- Most people don't believe they are idiots.
It follows that idiots (who think they aren't) distrust the mental and political competency of most other people (who they believe to be idiots), and yet feel of critical import that their personal opinions are heard and accounted for.
The above may seem like an issue unfairly framed, and in some ways it is.
That's meant as an object lesson : because of the underlying assumption (shared by most) that a significant portion of the citizenry is in fact politically inept (by virtue of diverging from one's own views or interests), any debate in the context of a democracy tends to be framed in such a way as to either exclude, void or redirect the contributions of the people the speaker disagrees with, and favor those views she subscribes to.
I could write a book about the inherent self-contradictions of democracy as a mode of government (don't taunt me), but right now, here's a simple question for the presumed idiots out there, and also for you, my dear reader :
Can you imagine a working democratic government system that wouldn't hinge on misdirection ?