Democracy is hard, but also simple: Rights supersede powers

Democracy is hard, but also simple; rights supersede powers, always. Any effort by any person or faction to use public office to gain unfair advantage is a crime against democracy. That is how we protect human dignity, freedom, and ingenuity, and ensure we are empowered to build a better future, together.

The following are 10 points of reasoned rebuttal of a Politico article predicting the end of democracy:

1) The assumption that the human brain is not equipped for cooperative self-governance does not follow from any given political trend; if you look only at the period 1965-1975, you could say, “The United States has made clear its people will never wage war again,” which would be an absurd conclusion to draw from one anti-war movement.

2) Democracy does not just “go into decline” and not recover… Germany is a much better democracy now than it was in the 1930s; West Germany was already by the 1960s; great progress can be made very quickly.

3) In the case of the US, the immediate predecessor to our own “right wing populist” was one of the great examples of a principled, ethical head of government who understood the obligation to be honorable in public service.

4) It does not matter how we are “wired”; the protection of human rights, health and wellbeing requires that we develop more resilient open democratic systems. In a sense, democracy exists to help us deal with the more base tendencies that would have us resort to less just, less democratic approaches to problem-solving.

5) Social media are not “more democracy”; they are the illusion of more democracy and have instead operated as engines of radical power imbalance. (We need to fix this.)

6) We learn from every mistake; what we are learning by this period of political corruption is that it is possible, that it is dangerous, that it can happen anywhere, and there are specific levers that allow us to counter and eliminate corruption.

7) There will always be pressures against democracy, because there will always be people who do not wish to be ethically constrained, or who are too ignorant of history to avoid repeating it, or to understand that they must.

8) Democracy is hard, but also simple: its simplicity is rooted in the insight that the protection of rights is paramount to any quest for personal or factional profit or advantage.

9) No government can have legitimacy that does not answer to the people and to the law.

10) Psuedo-populist right-wing extremist governments are notoriously and obviously horrible at providing sound public service; this always leads to resistance and eventually the fall of the regime.

Respond to Democracy is hard, but also simple: Rights supersede powers

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