This essay deals with democracy and its importance to people who either live in it or not. The essay claims that democracy is not a natural human need and that people have different understandings of what it is and what it should be. To show the justification of this conclusion, I will do the following: at the beginning (in the first part), a brief insight will be given into democracy and how it stands in the world today, then (in the second part) I will give insight into how people perceive democracy and why some people agree to be slaves of undemocratic regimes and finally (in the third part) follows a brief conclusion of arguments in the second part where one could see how democracy affects people and people on it.
Democracy (Greek demos + kratos), or better said, the rule of the people originally appeared in ancient Athens in the 7th century BC and had to pass a tough road to become, today, a dominant political idea in the world. The resurrection was experienced in the 19th century in the United States and France, which were among the first to introduce it, and thereafter a ‘boom’ of democracy started, caused by the end of world wars, decolonization and the collapse of communism. Its main features are equality before the law, political freedom, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Some countries that lack the minimum of these conditions also consider themselves democratic (China, North Korea, and China), and only the Vatican, Oman, Fiji, the United Arab Emirates, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia officially admit they are not democratic. While some have democratic elections and do not have ‘democracy’: Russia, Egypt, Belarus, Vietnam, Sudan, Turkey… The tyranny of the majority over the minority as a definition of democracy is here more than expressed.
Some things are not asked, we understand them as right and correct themselves, some are biologically predestined, and some are taught by socialization (how to dress or behave). There are also things that are eventually transformed into dogma, we do not think about them as correct or incorrect, the boundary between whether we have any belief or habit born with our birth or we just learned something, fades, such as religious affiliation, political affiliation or waving for a favorite football club or, in this case, democracy. People rarely change for what they decided already – religion, party or a soccer club. Over time, they become part of them, inseparable in the physical sense just like their organs. This comparison partly explains why millions of people in communist states agree to live under the dictatorship of one party and one man. Sometimes rational arguments do not have any impact on people, no matter how accurate they are. People cannot accept that they have lived their entire lives in lies. That they are wrong even less.
The subject matter of the essay is fundamentally dependent on whoever is asked. We see this in the example of today’s undemocratic regimes: China, North Korea, and Cuba. For the first democracy is only a term, North Korea even has it in its name, and Cuba had it in practice before the Second World War and then came Castro. We can say that democracy is not important for residents of these countries. In China, apart from the tragic case at Tiananmen and a few detained (democratic) activist, there is no indication that over one billion of its people feel the need for democracy. North Koreans are already living in a democracy, at least we can conclude that by the official name of the state – the Democratic Republic of Korea, while the Cubans for protests against the undemocratic regime do not even think. Besides the fact that the name “democratic” gives them fictitious legitimacy, it also gives them perceptual legitimacy to their own population. Having that in mind the statement of one of the greatest Communists of all times that of Che Guevara in his speech in Uruguay in 1961 sounds rather unreal. ‘Democracy cannot consist only of elections that are almost always fictional and managed by wealthy landowners and professional politicians’. Unfortunately, when a violent revolution by poor people takes down the government and one of their poor representatives becomes a new person in charge, he eventually becomes a rich landowner and a professional politician – exactly what he fought against. Power corrupts, and this is exactly the case in countries that have experienced such a scenario (Castro on Cuba, Stalin in the Soviet Union, Gaddafi in Libya …).
Every day we hear about thousands of people, even millions of migrants trying to get to a better life in western Europe. In democratic western Europe, for which they go primarily because of economic reasons, but also because of the unstable political situation in the country they come from and the lack of basic human rights in it. Though all of this is provided in the west, most of these things they reject and then they try to continue the same way of life. First of all, there are various incidents with migrants we often see in the media. For the purposes of this essay, it is not necessary to list them, but it is important to note that such people only want partial benefits of democracy, the first material, and then non-material which they adapt to themselves and to their cultural, religious and political worldview.
Can the importance of democracy or something else be measured by thoughts? It can. And here we could conclude that there are millions of people in the world who consider democracy to be an unimportant and silly phenomenon, millions will also be on the opposite side who are sympathetic to this form of state-building. The importance of democracy can also be measured by the number of people deprived of their liberty, who had been imprisoned and whose human rights had been violated and who have no right to express their opinions. By this measure, we can conclude that democracy is even important to those who think it is not.