Preconditions of Democracy

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Abstract:

The few simple thoughts proposed below will be primarily of a theoretical nature. However, since they are formulated within a specific historical context, it is hard not to see their relation to social and political activity.

Only for a decade did we delude ourselves thinking that liberal democracy, while it is not the constitution of each country, has no competition at the level of ideas. The Muslim world's waging war on the West and the tempestuous mass demonstrations advancing Slogans such as “We want Islam, not democracy” have offered an opportunity for a more sober reflection on our own civilization and the rest of the world. However, this more sober scrutiny hits the barrier of noble idealism and the moral mission of spreading the values we deem objective and universal, both characteristic of Western spirituality. The values in question are justice, truth, and goodness, features initially identified with Christianity and then with civilization as such; today it is primarily democracy and human rights that are regarded as the fulfilment of the ideals of humanity. Therefore, the long and ruthless war waged on us – even if we know it first needs to be resolved in a military manner – can in the long run lead to the peace and well-being of the world only with the introduction of democracy.

Such pervasive is the power of the moral mission that it results in delusions, in persistently claiming that a country whose one more province has introduced the death penalty for professing Christianity is a near-model version of democracy or that a state where only a man, authorised by religious authorities at that, can stand for election is a democratic country, etc.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Values and Norms in the Age of Globalization
    The authors of this book, scholars from Germany, Austria, the United States, Kirghizia and Poland, seek an answer to the challenges posed to social sciences by the globalization epoch. The challenges apply to such problems as the establishment of rights and rules and institutions governing the existence of supra- and international communities, the development of a common system of ethical values, moral standards and norms (or even the creation of a system of entirely new values, standards and norms) supporting the unification process, as well as the legitimacy and validity of transferring the values and standards and the models of economy and politics characteristic of European culture to other cultures and civilizations. This book raises the questions that are particularly significant to the present-day political practice in its European and global dimensions: the questions of place, role and dimension, as well as topicality or transformations in the post-modern order of the world, of such moral values, standards and norms present in politics as human rights, freedom, justice, responsibility, solidarity, tolerance, forgiveness, peace, security, education, modernization or democracy and law.
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