Yet the Congress does not adhere to these public opinions—and I don’t think it’s because they’re smarter or more virtuous.But the trouble with democracy transcends contradictions between words and deeds or citizens and their representatives.Practical roots of this misunderstanding recur to the American founding.Tags: Online Learning Benefits EssayEssays By Sir Richard SteeleMit Opencourseware Computer ScienceSolving Algebra 2 ProblemsGreat Opening Statements EssayThesis Statement Of Fast FoodProper Research Paper Outline
Besides this historical truth, political action in democracies and all other political orders occurs amid conditions of uncertainty.
When citizens engage political dilemmas, they have reason to wonder exactly what the two conceptual pillars of democracy—freedom and equality— mean.
And it is not that we must fear “tyranny of the majority,” because a genuine political majority of a populace rarely exercises power.
It was not a majority of the American citizenry that favored or fought for slavery; it was not a majority of the French citizenry that authorized the Reign of Terror; it was not a majority of the German citizenry that elected Hitler.
But there is no single intellectual or practical source for these compasses.
Citizens may believe in God or think reasonably, but there is no God or Reason or website or algorithm that identifies the needs of democracy. We are not born with these virtues and practical skills.In my scholarship, I have found that confusion about democracy stems from the misunderstood and opaque relationship between democracy and ideas of goodness, especially goodness as it relates to common and public affairs.This misunderstanding is particularly disturbing in the midst of democracy’s invocation today: Few citizens understand democracy’s ability, practically or ethically, to improve our social lives, and few politicians genuinely want to.Americans may wonder whether greater democracy is even desirable, since few in the echelons of society that dominate public communications and our capitalist economy are prone to entrust more power to the many who are often seen as uncouth—incapable of political judgment and likely to threaten their positions.While anti-democratic thought often stems from prejudices of one kind or another, it actually is true that democracy does not inherently provide an automatic guide for just political action.Democracy is not automatically just, because the demos is not automatically right.This is not a uniquely democratic foible; human beings are fallible.Demokratia connoted the power of “the many” over “the few,” and noteworthy political theorists have argued that “the many” are more trustworthy political judges than “the few.” But neither is automatically good.Since its inception, democratic activity has needed ethical compasses to enable citizens who make decisions to do so beneficially, for the public as a whole.And yet everyone can learn the basic skills of political navigation, given the requisite general education and political experience.This is why democracy can’t be only an ideal; it must be a practice of ongoing political activity wherever possible and practical to acquire this education and experience.