Commentary on Political Economy

Sunday 22 October 2023


 There is a widespread if not unanimous tendency in the political commentary published in the last few decades to confuse the political notion and the historical reality of democracy with that of humanism and - at least in the initial stages of a crisis, political or military - with lack of resolve. The prevalent view of democratic nations and societies is that because of their political openness these nations and societies are predominantly humanistic by virtue of their ability to deliberate on political decisions in an open and informed and balanced manner. And these societies and their governments are also slow to react to challenges - again, this time by vice - because of their need to deliberate openly before deciding and then acting.

Indeed, the very notion of deliberation - combining the cognate notions of freely deciding (whence, "de-liberation") and of popular consultation - implies on one hand a democratic informed consensus - and therefore a clear cohesiveness in the resulting decision - as well as a lag and delay often mounting to in-decision, between an eventual agreement or consensus and the reaching of resolute action in the implementation of those democratically-reached decisions. Put another way, curtly yet clearly, democracies are slow to de-liberate (decide), yet very forcefully decisive, indeed 'deliberate' in their actions, once a decision is reached.

The implication in this reasoning, often turning into a deductive inference, is that democratic consensus and decisions are, by virtue of their openness and inclusiveness, also 'humanistic' in the sense of humane and judicious.

But here is the logical and historical fallacy! In reality, and here is my submission, the greatest democracies recorded in human history have been remarkable more by their resoluteness, by their deliberateness, by their resolve, than by their 'humanity'. Conclusion: democracies can act so deliberately and with such resolve as to gather, summon and muster the strength to crush their enemies! Look carefully through the historical record and you will be able to agree that the greatest democracies are those that can act with ruthless and pitiless resolve toward their deadly enemies.

In the fight against Eastern autocracies, Western democracies need to be reminded of this - now as much as ever! 

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