Bernard Crick (People vs Tech)

Democracy: stored up in heaven; but unhappily has not yet been communicated to us.

**

Plato, of course, detested democracy. To him it was the rule of doxa over philosophia, of opinion over knowledge. The Greek for rule was kratos, and demos was ‘the people’, but many other ancient (and modern) writers gave it a pejorative sense, simply the majority as the mob – a powerful, selfish, fickle, and inconsistent beast. His pupil Aristotle took a more tempered view in his book The Politics, as we will see. While democracy was for him a necessary condition for good government, it was far from a sufficient condition. If we are talking of justice and of good government then we are talking of a complexity of different concepts, values, and practices, and a complexity that never remains the same.

2 thoughts on “Bernard Crick (People vs Tech)

  1. shinichi Post author

    Democracy: A Very Short Introduction

    by Bernard Crick

    No political concept is more used, and misused, than that of democracy. Nearly every regime today claims to be democratic, but not all ‘democracies’ allow free politics, and free politics existed long before democratic franchises.

    This book is a short account of the history of the doctrine and practice of democracy, from ancient Greece and Rome through the American, French, and Russian revolutions, and of the usages and practices associated with it in the modern world. It argues that democracy is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for good government, and that ideas of the rule of law, and of human rights, should in some situations limit democratic claims.

    ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

    Reply
  2. shinichi Post author

    **

    We each have to choose something but it is another question how and why we presume to choose for others.

    **

    The populist mode of democracy is a politics of arousal more than of reason, but also a politics of diversion from serious concerns that need settling in either a liberal democratic or a civic republican manner.

    **

    Monarchy is like a splendid ship, with all sails set it moves majestically on, but then it hits a rock and sinks for ever. Democracy is like a raft. It never sinks but, damn it, your feet are always in the water. That is a good metaphor, for raft, he implies, is simply swept along by the tide or the current; one can with a paddle or a plank steer a little to stay afloat, trim forward direction slightly to left or right, perhaps even slow down or speed up a little, but there is no turning back against the current of democracy.

    **

    Man’s inclination to justice makes democracy possible; but man’s capacity for injustice makes it necessary.’ The optimism we need to prevent ourselves from destroying our own democratic freedoms and, indeed, our own human habitat must be based on reasoned pessimism.

    **

    Revolutions as often take place because the old regime simply collapse out of economic inefficiency and bureaucratic rigidity rather than for the reasons given out by their successors taking too much credit, however heroic their actions at the time of crisis (but so often in the past hopeless).

    **

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.