Deconstructing Democracy through (of, by and from) Choice.
“If Barry Schwartz is right to say that choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied, is there a case today for taking some of it away from us?”
Is there an illusion of choice?
That we assume that since we have choice, that we are more free, or even that the choice is real.
Don’t marketeers exploit this illusion when they brand equivalent products differently.
And isn’t this a loss due to modernity that packaging is what makes things sell.
Even in politics many are dissatisfied with the political system because they “know” that there is no choice.
But what they mean is that there may well be choice, but the difference between the parties boils down to a piece of paper that everyone knows carries no weight.
And does congruence really mean that everybody is performing as efficiently as possible?
But when we think about it such a claim boils down to evolutionary theory.
For if such were the case then evolutionary pressure would necessarily mean that traits that increase performance push out those that don’t. Whilst traits that are cosmetic may well become more attractive with rarity, thus ensuring a balanced distribution.
Difference in the evolutionary world is accounted for by circumstance.
For different environs create dissimilar evolutionary pressures that also account for the variety amongst us all.
But if we assume an evolutionary model for modes of social organisation then with increased globalisation, we would have to admit that this is no real choice; only cosmetic one.
That if Nation State democracies are the most efficient form of social organisation then the future is inevitable, and that we have no control over it. Except in catastrophic circumstance, of which, obviously, we also have no control.
A fatalistic philosophy that bases itself on a disregard for the fact that we each feel we have a choice, and can affect our futures.
So how do we square this circle where we have choice and yet no control, if not by reverting to fatalistic evolutionary theory?
Freedom of choice really means taking responsibility for your actions/ choices. And when we are willing to be responsible for those choices then that means we have been free to choose. If the question, “are you willing to bear the consequences?”, makes any sense in the circumstances then you really could claim that you have chosen and have been free to choose.
Flipping channels on a TV is not choice because there are no consequences for the choice of one over the other. If someone would ask you that question above then it would just be a matter of a laugh, and would not be treated as a serious question.
Whilst rebelling against the authority within an institution does resemble a choice because you may have to bear responsibility for their sanction.
Voting for a political party represents no choice, and therefore no freedom, because how can you be said to be responsible for the choice of your peers? That is even on the off chance where there is a real choice between parties.
“Are you willing to best the consequences?” becomes a redundant question because willingness has got nothing to do with it. I am forced to bear the consequence of my peers decision, and the mismanagement a political system that allows for no choice.
What does this mean?
If this is the case then authority for democracy does not lie with the people. Because I’m sure it doesn’t lie with me and I’m sure that you would agree, if you are true, that it doesn’t lie with you.
And then phrase “for, off and from the people” becomes redundant.
Democracy in such terms is fallacious.
And yet being a Muslim, I believe in the democracy that people’s voices must be listened to. For me the theory of democracy was always still born because of a prescription for action that is couched in something far greater than the minds of men;
An illustrious recitation and the example of the greatest leader of Mankind- Muhammad, may he forever be blessed.
Because contained in both is a real prescription for consultation in political processes, and then the building of consensus- shuraa’.
A real democracy that is something that Modern Nation States with their congruent political parties only scratch at.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone