Democracy, by Alain de Benoist

Do meu colega no WAIS, Alain de Benoist, envio a seguinte mensagem:
Which nation today is the most democratic and why?

The answer to this question depends of courseon what is meant by “democracy”.Democracy is a regime where political legitimacy depends on popular sovereignty. Sovereignty is something else than consent. The consent of the governed is not sufficient to make it a democracy. In a democracy, people decide by themselves as much as is possible. And the people decideas a people (peuple in French, Volk in German, popolo in Italian), as a whole body producing a general will, not as a simple collection of individuals. Representative democracy is a mix of democracy and liberalism. The principle of representation is a liberal one. It is not without reason that Max Weber said that what is the most liberal in a democracy is also what is the least democratic. Rousseau wrote that, in a representative democracy, the people are sovereign just one day (the day of the vote), while the representatives are sovereign the rest of thetime.Because it is a regime of popular sovereignty, democracy is also a regime which allows all the citizens to be involved in public life, which maximizes the possibility of political participation. For the Greeks, this participation was essential, because the public sphere (governed bypolitics) was the realm of liberty, while private sphere (governed by economy) was the realm of necessity. To be free meant to be able to participate in public life, not the possibility to escape from it. This is exactly the contrary of liberal ideology, which sees political power as a constant threat and the private sphere, so-called civil society, as the place of liberty (and commercial activities) par excellence. However, the principle of democracy is not liberty, but equality--not equality of natural abilities, but political equality, which means that all citizens are equally citizens, holders of the same political abilities. The concept of citizen cannot be understood without its contrary: the non-citizen. “One citizen, one vote” is a democratic rule;“one man, one vote” is not. But democracy cannot be reduced to the vote, which is only a technical means to check the agreement of views between the governed and the governants. Democracy is even less reducible to thei deology of human rights. A decision which contradicts the ideology of human rights can be taken democratically. It will be accepted by the partisans of democracy, but rejected by the partisans of human rights. The prevailing model of democracy is today the liberal model of representative and parliamentary democracy. This model is in crisis in most of the Western countries, where people vote less and less, because they feel that their representatives do not represent them anymore, and they therefore return more and more to the private sphere. This crisis of representation, whose results are the slow transformation of democracy into an oligarchy of the New Class, has not yet been resolved seriously. A democratic place is a place where there is real sovereignty of the people, real control of the governants by the people, the real possibility for the people to decide by themselves about what concerns them. That means participative democracy. The more participation, the more democracy.

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