A new breed of anti-democrats are on the rise – and they’re not sporting swastika tattoos this time.
You’ll find these 21st-century anti-democrats lounging in professorial chairs, clinking glasses at intellectual soirées and delivering their opinions on the faults of the masses straight into camera on primetime.
Bolstered by recent events, from Brexit to the election of Trump, these ‘respectable’ anti-democrats have shiny, new-sounding solutions: ‘epistocracy’, the ‘Chinese model of meritocracy’, ‘citizens’ juries’. All are designed to undermine basic political equality.
Of course, our representative democracies are pretty flawed anyway, reducing participation largely to voting every few years and outsourcing most politics to politicians, pundits and lobbyists.
Now that digital technology is threatening to make these middlemen obsolete and democracy can become more direct, the elites are panicking.
Like Louis XVI’s courtiers, they have begun to have a vague sense of foreboding that if the ancient régime goes down, they are going with it. So they’re trying to undermine the most basic democratic values with the same old arguments: that the people are stupid, incompetent or evil.
Roslyn Fuller’s In Defense of Democracy is now available from Polity.
Also available from Amazon and Wordery. Or check availability with your local bookstore.
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