Let’s face it and be honest: Democracy is not a great system of governance. In fact, it’s as mediocre as the outcomes it generates.
Plato hated it. He preferred a Republic, but all that does is kick the can down the proverbial kerb. A mob of demos voting for self-interested politicos with the gift of gab and self-promotion.
Alexis de Tocqueville noted that Democracy requires an education populace, but that’s the least of its shortcomings, and, man, was he spot on.
Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.— Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill is to have said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Except he didn’t get out much and probably hadn’t survey all the others he demeaned. I don’t reckon he was very imaginative at the start.
Kenneth Arrow demonstrated with his Impossibility Theorem that no voting system would work even if the concept was otherwise solid, so that’s just adding insult to injury.
to what extent is democracy simply playing on the cognitive illusion of control?
Democracy sounds good on paper, but to what extent is democracy simply playing on the cognitive illusion of control? I’d imagine that the more one feels able to control outcomes (or happen to be in sync with the decided outcomes), the more favourable one feels towards it. But as much one might assume the disenfranchised to be disillusioned by it—and against all logic—, many still defend it.
The problem, is course, is people, so what are the alternatives? Besides Democracy, some people are easily enamoured by the Beneficent Dictator, but the shortcomings of that have been debated for centuries. For the most part, monarchies have run their historical course—at least as far as to demonstrate that they are not a solution either.
Some have raised Artificial Intelligence as a solution, but unless AI can unlearn the human elements, it’s not much of an improvement. It’s just faster and more efficient within a sub-optimal system. And humans are fearful of how another superior entity might treat them—especially given how poorly humans treat encountered ‘inferior’ entities.
To be fair, I don’t have an answer, but any system that outputs Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson, or Donald Trump is in serious need of an overhaul—especially simultaneously.
* I included the Democracy Now!’s logo in this post. Democracy Now! is neither affiliated with this blog or this post. Still, I suggest you check it out.