Is this what we want “democracy” to be? Where One Desire, One Vote = Foolish Democracy?
Colin McGinn is one of the greatest thinkers of our age. He uncharacteristically blogged, prompted, as many have been, by shock at the USA’s election of Donald Trump… except that Mcginn posted his blog days before.
I read it whilst my spirit was slumped by the stupidity and hatefulness of my South Africans who, too quickly, have fallen into camps that have nothing to do with fairness and justice and too much to do with whose black or white, whose intolerant or cowardly.
What is democracy? Or rather, what is it meant to be?
What McGinn so eloquently said applies to democracy wherever it hides. Whether because of him or my despondency, I responded:
“We’re selfish, prejudiced because of it. Doing the right thing is rarely the same as listening to our inner animal, our evolution crying to be number one.
If anything, we, too often, do the right thing because of fear; conformity seeking approval to exist. Democracy may just be a society of cannibals trying not to be eaten.
Maybe the sociopath is hated by our subconscious envy. In my country of South Africa, there are fewer curtains of pretend-civilisation, a person less hated for their wielding of harmful power than for the desire to wield such oneself.
No matter how I reasonably try reason (a clattering of knives on the kitchen floor of my mind), it fails to alter that the extinguishing of my hope in the intended equality of democracy finds me darkly depressed, sometimes overcome with hopelessness as my age insists that not all are equal no matter how much I want to foolishly believe otherwise.
I couldn’t bear the thought of Clinton or Trump as US President, one for their cunning deceit, the other for their bigotry… but the positive of ‘Drumpf’ winning is that half the masses, the losers, and the powers that be, are now confronted by, and cannot disregard, the enormity of public dissatisfaction.
We, as a species, can no longer be as blind. After more burning, that truth, bigger than individuals, can seek a solution.
Our hopes and intentions as individuals are lonely, our egos pathetic in the face of biological zeitgeist we don’t understand.”
Although what he began with bears no relevance to the final outcome of his thought, I quote this so that you better understand my response and, importantly, are encouraged to visit the full ‘Democracy and Desire’ blog.
“The essence of democracy is collective decision…
Suppose I make a list of all my desires – from the sublime, to the ridiculous, to the base. It’s hard to know how to count desires because we can be more or less fine-grained about their objects, but for concreteness let’s suppose that I have a million desires. Now I assign to each desire a numerical weight according to a principle of equality: each desire gets one ‘vote’. My rule of action is then to select all the desires relevant to a given possible act and add up the votes for and against; the act will be performed according to whether numerically more desires favor it than disfavor it…”
Read Colin McGinn’s ‘Democracy and Desire’. Explore his video section, challenge your mind and beliefs.