Democracy – Part 1

Democracy is a sacred word in India. As a concept, it is poorly understood (not just in India but across the world) but like people’s attitude towards their own religion, they uncritically subscribe to it without bothering to understand what it is, what it implies, what its premises are, whether or not those premises are true, whether it delivers what it promises, what its track record is, what the alternatives to it are, and whether or not they would be better off without it.

Democracy has a quasi-religious status in India (though not exclusively so) that places it beyond any scrutiny or criticism. The general attitude in India is that democracy and what’s the public good are synonymous. From that arises the comforting syllogism for Indians which says that since (1) democracy is good; and (2) India is the largest democracy; therefore (3) India is the best. QED.

In my view, democracy is not all that it’s cracked up to be. In fact, I think it is seriously flawed and, although in certain limited contexts it is better than the alternatives, people who get ecstatic at the mention of the word democracy are seriously deluded and what’s worse, their delusion is not harmless. That delusion has pernicious effects, the most serious of which is its negative impact on individual freedom. Democracy, as practiced, is contrary and antagonistic to freedom, and therefore inconsistent with human flourishing. Continue reading “Democracy – Part 1”

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