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Sun. August 01, 2021
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International Affairs Forum

Around the World, Across the Political Spectrum

The Future of Democracy: Venue Dependent

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The future of democracy certainly depends on the culture and the society to which democracy is superimposed. Democracy can only exist in societies that have certain characteristics such as compassion, understanding, willingness to compromise, willingness to be objective, a high usage of a moral compass and integrity, a heightened degree of collectivism, altruism, good will and TRUST.  These characteristics exist generally in northern European and in Asian countries, amongst others, but unfortunately, not in the United States.  This is not to say that these characteristics have never existed in the US because they have, or at least it would appear they did. With advances in technology, facades are not as easy to uphold as they were in the time of brick-and-mortar, pen-and-paper, and the Bermuda Triangle.  With the current political and social conditions and cruel capitalism in the US, the American moral compass has certainly disappeared. Why? A high degree of morality and integrity does not increase the value of a business (therefore its stakeholders’ pockets), but the lack of morality and integrity does; the driving force of cruel capitalism with its component of price gouging (raising the price of needed items during a crisis).

American culture and society no longer cultivate the personal characteristics of its citizens to ensure the longevity of democracy and beneficial capitalism for which the US became known and famous and as the template for others.  Democracy and beneficial capitalism can only exist in societies that have certain characteristics such as compassion, understanding, willingness to compromise, willingness to be objective, high usage of a moral compass, and a heightened degree of collectivism.  Democracy and beneficial capitalism require that people can and do work together, empathize, sympathize, cooperate and compromise; and probably the most important element is the desire to do these things and to be understanding.  With the advent of technology, the American culture has quickly gone from an individualistic culture with an underlying collectivism element (before the 1980s) to an excessively individualistic culture existing in a cruel capitalist system (starting in the mid-1980s until today).  Cruel capitalism creates extreme selfishness and lack of compassion for anything other than the self; driven to collect as many USD as possible.

American culture and society have generally become that of narcissistic, egotistical, and individualistic people who demand perfection from everyone. If this doesn't occur, Americans enjoy punishing in any way possible especially violence including alienating and disowning one’s own kids or family (which causes attachment disorder and often addictions, and a good chance of imprisonment in the US).  The ideas of "If you have something, it's less for me so I will take it from you any way I can" along with "If you love or care about something, you're weak, and I will destroy/kill whatever it is just because I don't want to see you happy" do not endorse and cultivate the characteristics needed for democracy and beneficial capitalism.

From an evolutionary point of view, when conditions are viewed as harsh, unyielding and uncaring, to the point that living beings feel they are about to be extinguished or cannot survive at a level that is considered “normal”, anger surfaces. Anger ensures that the being will survive, and often substances are used to help alleviate the stresses from harsh conditions.  When push comes to shove, most Americans will ensure that they personally will survive; often neglecting their own family members.  If one only looks at the statistics of mass shootings, violent crimes, prison population numbers and violence/neglect against one’s own family members, the severe selfishness of Americans is apparent.  In addition, when a culture and society needs to build more prisons and create entities such as departments of children and families and departments of juvenile justice because children are violent, there is very little possibility that democracy can survive. Such entities also show the unhealthiness of the culture and society.  Selfishness and severe individualism have become intergenerational starting with the end of the Babyboomers, and has become more severe in each subsequent generation.

When people are worried for their own well being and continued existence, politics are not at the top of their list of concerns.  People must ensure that their basic needs are met; politics are not a basic need for the everyday American.  Therefore, parents don’t teach children about politics and they don’t teach about compromising because survival is of the upmost importance.  Quite often, those who enter politics do so for their own selfish reasons and to line their own pockets.  When children grow up only seeing selfishness (for any reason), they aren’t very willing to compromise or to understand the plight of others.  New legislation is often written and passed that increases selfish wants. The idea of collectivism is no longer in the American vocabulary.

Perhaps one of the most important elements for democracy is trust.  When children cannot trust their parents and other adults, and adults cannot trust children, being guarded and distrusting becomes the norm especially for survival. This carries over into the political realm, domestic and international.  In a democracy, the groups involved must trust each other, including each other’s good will, altruism and integrity.  In the US, trust is in very short supply, if there is any at all.  No one really trusts anyone, family included.  The only “trust” that most people have is that they can trust others to cause harm to others.  American culture and society are also very polarized in its thinking. If someone doesn’t agree with one’s thoughts and feelings, that person is eliminated.  It is the “If you’re not with me, you’re against me, therefore you’re my enemy and I hate you.”  With polarized thinking, there is no possibility of “meeting in the middle” on anything. Everyone wants their way 110%, and they have no qualms of eliminating anyone or anything standing in their way.  Democracy doesn’t work in such conditions.

Democracy and the free market system are still relatively new in some cultures and societies around the world. Hopefully they will embrace and regulate their new systems so that they don’t venture down the same dark path that America’s has.  In the very near future, the American democracy that was once regarded with respect will no longer be recognizable. A new system is emerging for which there is not yet a name. 

Traci Seltzer is a social sciences skills/life coach as well as an I/O psychology instructor and mindset master in English for Russian professionals.  She can be contacted at traci.seltzer@gmail.com or view her website at https://www.signumadjuvo.com/

 

 

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