Democracy needs an urgent upgrade and needs to come of age
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing perfect about democracy. Yet, it’s still the system with to best guarantees for a positive society for all.
We all need to live in relation to others. I define as democratic everything that places equal value on humans. Some people are more responsible, others need more protection, but no one is dearer than anyone else.
Democratic society comes with many fundamental perks in the form of inalienable freedoms and rights, and limits on interference. Think of the right to due process or to vote, freedom of the press and of gathering, etc.
However, through oversight or design, some rights and limitations are missing. How so, by design? In bygone years, the rich and powerful agreed to share power with the masses, women, ex-slaves, etc. But, they first had assured themselves that they could keep most of their privileges.
Yet, in modern democracies, the public takes egalitarianism and freedom as natural and fair. So much so that this can’t be taken away anymore.
So, maybe now the time has come to improve democracy as we know it.
Four New Rights
1. The Right to Safety. Anyone making any person or group feel scared must be treated as violating society and stopped. And we’re not talking about “I’m afraid it will rain tomorrow.” Rather, making it scary to walk the streets, to speak one’s mind, to be authentically yourself. See here.
2. The Right to Influence the Next Generation. So long as we’ve not become physically immortal, it can’t be that after someone’s demise, it’s like that person never was. We all need the right to raise children, teach, help improve the world’s tomorrow—suitable for our talents.
3. The Right to Empathy. So much of our collective suffering is caused by no one really caring about our pain. “Everyone only thinks of himself; I’m the only one who sometimes thinks about me.” – Wim Kan. We all need warm unjudgmental inconsequential attention to what we feel.
4. The Right to Truth, not just to free data gathering or transparency. That is worthless when most ‘information’ is partly or completely lied up. In a world buzzing with lies, implementing this will be tricky. But we also have courts that judge. We don’t say: “Who’s going to determine if anyone was the killer?” and let all accused go. Lying must become illegal and banned.
Three New Limitations
These can be hard to swallow. But sometimes, bitter medication is a must.
1. Those who oppose, in word or action, democratic ideals will be excluded from democratic privilege. If you believe that certain groups are inferior or superior, or in terrorism, you can no longer claim the right to free speech, stand for election, use the media to spread your poison, have privacy, freely gather, demonstrate, etc. to further your goal to hurt democracy.
2. No more permission to hurt your health. That doesn’t mean that those who consume recreational drugs or junk food must go to jail. But, it does say that society no longer can afford to look the other way and claim: It’s ‘personal freedom.’ Society must provide better alternatives (see above, point 3.). Autonomy can’t mean freedom to hurt yourself. It’s too costly.
3. We must limit how much money and wealth a person can amass. If you are clever or lucky enough to find legal ways to become a billionaire, that money was taken from the masses and must benefit the masses.
These seven points to perfect democratic society are going to hurt. But not implementing them is going to hurt much more. There’s no alternative.