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Democracy As Religion


Lastly, we arrive at the most effective mechanism used to "sell" Democracy to people. You may have noticed that every time there are arguments in favour of Democracy, they fall within two categories. This is no coincidence.

  1. What a hero said
  2. What Democracy accomplished

About heroes

There are four appealing characteristics to use heroes as advertisements for Democracy:

  • They are dead
  • They are liked
  • They have clever (albeit outdated) remarks supporting Democracy
  • Their remarks are general

Why are heroes used? Because by being dead they cannot change their mind. People like them because (at the time) they represented positive change. Their remarks carry weight because they were designed to do so and their remarks are general in nature meaning they don't require hard proof.

In other words, heroes are ideal as Democracy sellers. An added advantage of them being dead is that people has the tendency to avoid confrontation with the ideals of dead people. In society it is seen as disrespectful. Hence, not only heroes have good PR, but a built-in and very tall argument barrier.

About accomplishments

When politicians come out to "sell" democracy, they often do so through the expedient means of "demonstrating" what has been accomplished. These accomplishments invariably come accompanied by remarks such as "…in Democracy" or "…only possible in Democracy" or "through the Democratic process" and so on.

This is a very convenient way of putting it without the need of proving anything. These so-called "accomplishments" are typically private-enterprise driven top-to-bottom (nothing to do with the Democratic system) or government boondoggles (again, nothing to do with the Democratic system - for example the USSR was famous for mega-construction projects). What politicians are using is the perception that without the freedom provided by the Democratic system, this would not have taken place. To a degree they are correct. Democracy is indeed a step forward providing more freedom than its predecessor and as such a better enabler thus a partial source of success. However, what they do is to bundle everything that has been accomplished under the umbrella of Democracy, regardless of who and how it was done and this is the core of the issue. They present Democracy as the only source of success. They do so by the expedient mean of not demonstrating anything. There is no objective proof, statistic, scientific otherwise but there is a lot of rhetoric and very little deductive reasoning. This is, there is a lot of fluff and very little substance. But they don't stop there. Every failure of a sufficiently large size capable of debunking their point of view is conveniently and efficiently swept under the rug or blanketed with secrecy, official or otherwise. Deny everything is their motto.

But how is this possible? Why is that people do not rebel and begin to doubt? Because they accomplish this feat by making the public their accomplice through an act of faith. They argue Democracy as a religion and therefore any opposing doubt must be rejected as an act of faith. Of course, they don't argue Democracy as religion directly; they do so indirectly mostly using peer pressure. Typically what we see are expressions as the following ones:

  • If you are against Democracy you are against us.
  • If you don't vote you want us ill.
  • If you don't support Democratic institutions you are a fascist or a communist.
  • If you don't support our "way of life" you want to destroy us.

And so on. Sound familiar? The problem is that when people are subjected to such expressions they never ask: Why? They are too ashamed to do so. Why is that if we don't support Democracy we want ill for you, destroy you and so forth? If you ask this question and you follow its logical conclusion you will notice that there is no connection. It is what in philosophy is called a non-sequitur. This is "it does not follow", literally. Because the reality is that whatever it may be that we want by not supporting Democracy is something personal and individual; it is not general and as such a specific goal cannot be attributed to it.


Now that we have postulated (proposed) that Democracy is being sold to people as a religion and therefore an act of faith, we need to prove this. We will do so in two parts. The first part will demonstrate that it is possible to argue that Democracy is a religion. The second part will demonstrate our postulate.

Part #1 - Democracy is not objective

Democracy being a Political Theory and a Political System is not something objective but a highly subjective process. We have demonstrated that much in our article Political Theories and Systems - What They Are And How They Work where we compare Political Theories (subjective) versus Scientific Theories (objective). There are vast differences among them.

The fact that Political Theories are subjective opens the door to our next step; to demonstrate that Democracy is being treated as a Religion. This is so because if Political Theories (and therefore Democracy) would be objective, we would be able to demonstrate through deductive reasoning any article of faith, including the existence of God. The reality is that we cannot. Philosophers and religious scholars have tried for millennia; tried and failed. They have even tried rhetoric (or inductive reasoning) and also failed. Every attempt ended in opposing conclusions; in our example this would mean that there are equally strong arguments for the existence of God as well as for its non-existence. No ultimate conclusion can be obtained. The simple truth is that any form of religion is faith based and it cannot be developed objectively.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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