American Totalitarian Democratism

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ltlee1

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Sep 26, 2022, 8:01:10 AMSep 26
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/democracy-by-and-for-the-elites-biden-wilson-jefferson-democratist-popular-rule-threat-america-tocqueville-11664114737

"President Biden’s Sept. 1 speech in Philadelphia on “unity” is a poignant example of the confusion surrounding the concept of democracy. Mr. Biden declared that MAGA Republicans threaten “the very foundations of our republic.” The phrase a “threat to American democracy” is so commonplace these days that it hardly carries any meaning—except that it encapsulates the reigning ideology of our time, an ideology so pervasive that it almost goes unnoticed. It is like the air we breathe.

I call it democratism. It is an imaginative and idealistic understanding of popular rule that disdains ordinary people and looks to a cadre of so-called experts to operate the levers of power. Under this ideology, “democracy” and “the people” are rhetorical cover for the will of the elites. Think of social media’s censorship of misinformation in the name of “supporting democracy” and “upholding free expression.” How is it that censorship passes as upholding free expression?

“War is peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength” from Orwell’s “1984” comes to mind, but there is a long tradition in the West of this paradoxical interpretation of democracy. Enlightenment-era thinking, and arguably even Plato, puts forth the thought that an ahistorical ideal of justice ought to act as the primary guide to politics. Jean-Jacques Rousseau applied this idea in “The Social Contract.” The general will, Rousseau says, is what the popular will ought to be, even if it isn’t expressed by actual living people. The general will conveniently requires the translation of a wise legislator for its instantiation.

Many of the most vocal champions of democracy, from Thomas Jefferson to our own day, have been advocates of this Rousseauean inversion, using the word “democracy” as justification for what would otherwise be naked authoritarianism. "

ltlee1

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Sep 27, 2022, 8:11:13 AMSep 27
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The author Emily Finley earned her Ph.D from Stanford University with a dissertation
entitled “Enchantment of the Modern Age: Toward a Definition of Democratism”.
Her new is book entitled "The Ideology of Democratism."

bmoore

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Sep 27, 2022, 11:31:44 AMSep 27
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Emily Finley holds a Ph.D. in Politics from The Catholic University of America.


ltlee1

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Sep 27, 2022, 12:07:42 PMSep 27
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Yes. You are right. My mistake. And currently a postdoc in Stanford University.
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