Is democracy fragile?

The question included these additional questions: What are the elements that constitute a strong healthy democracy? Culture? Governance? Leadership? Luck? Historical enlightenment?


Democracy, when we achieve it, will not be fragile because it will be built, bottom-up, on a solid foundation of the people - all the people. The people will select, from the vast diversity of talent among them, the individuals best able to address and resolve the problems they face.

Selection will be a process of people examining their peers and choosing the best advocates of their own interests. During the process, participants will necessarily consider both common and conflicting interests. Advocates of special interests will proclaim their ideas and encourage discussion of their concepts. Some will be accepted, in whole or in part, as they are shown to be in the common interest of the community. As a result, public issues will be worked out from broadly differing perspectives. Free of the divisiveness of party politics, the people will build a stable government.

* Leadership will be chosen by the people to meet contemporary challenges. It will be dynamic, in the sense that the leaders will change as the people's needs change.

* Culture will change because trustworthiness will be a primary concern when the people choose their leaders. Dishonesty will diminish because morality is a top-down phenomenon.

* Historical enlightenment will occur as the people realize George Washington's wisdom when he warned the nation that empowering political parties would let cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men usurp the reins of government.

* Governance will be more responsive because the electoral process will let the people choose individuals they believe able to conduct public business in the public interest.

* Luck will play a role (because it always does), but it is impossible to say how and when. Perhaps someone will read about Practical Democracy and decide it will rid their town of corrupt party politics.

Fred Gohlke