I have no training in social science let alone being an expert of it. I am sure there are countless accomplished scholars of it out there.
I have been interested in the debate in favor of democracy for a long time now. This interest has only grown with what appears to be a new and biggest era of debate in favor of democracy so far. As limited as my expertise about this debate has been, I can't imagine any time in the past when the scale and scope of the debate for democracy have been these big.
I can only imagine how geographically limited the debate among the Pharaohs might have been in succession. I do not know if the debate among the philosophers of ancient Greece extended far beyond the Mediterranean Basin. I do not think that the debate during the Renaissance reached much farther than Europe. Evidently, the debate for democracy before the writing of the U.S. Constitution was among a limited number of men.
When I hear assertions that democracy is in peril, after all these debates and its experimentation, I can't help asking how it comes to such a precipice.
Then again, my intuitive reflection harkens me back to my understanding of the very genesis of democracy. Simply put, this understanding can be expressed by way of a very simple question: Can democracy and violence co-exist?
I would argue that a simple yes or no answer to this simple question would testify to a solid understanding of democracy by any student or scholar of democracy. Such a solid understanding can be gained as part of elementary logic.
In my view, the two can not co-exist. As a matter of fact, I happen to think that the severity of violence became the mother of democracy in ancient times. That made violence take the backseat to democracy and responsive to the rule of law, whether it came in written form or cultural norm.
Prolonged debates in ancient Greece was in essence relegating severe violence to the backseat. The prolonged Renaissance movement was relegating the severe medieval anarchy.
Good morning Northrop Grumman. This is an American company that surprised me one morning with its ad on TV proudly expressing the sophistry of its weapon of violence. In fairness, when other rising powers are also sharpening their own weapons of violence, no one may have any morality to lecture any other not to do the same. Then again, the threshold between offensive and defensive purposes holds that morality.
The violence in a domestic domain falls far from that threshold. It is within this domain that I fail to foresee that when anyone learns in history about America's violence of the 21st century, one wouldn't draw parallels between medieval anarchy and this gun violence.
If such a parallel can be drawn, as the old saying goes, if violence fools democracy once, shame on violence, and if violence shames democracy twice, shame on democracy.
If violence encroaches on democracy in different geographic locations at different times, it may well be that one can borrow ideas and take knowledge hostage. However, that may not save one from unwittingly pushing one's hypocrisy to a global stage on its own accord and have the world watch dumbfoundedly. Watching that, many may ask: After January 6, 2021, who is lecturing who about democracy?
This is why I think that before standing a witness that democracy is in peril, one needs to be able to define and characterize democracy, including whether it can co-exist with violence. If that definition and characterization become part of elementary civic education, no one may have to assert again that democracy is in peril.
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