In the long ago days of the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the triumph of democracy was taken for granted. Its truths were taken to be self-evident. Freedom of expression kept a lid on corruption, ensuring economic efficiency. Alternation of parties kept rulers honest, and largely free of homicide. Open flows of information led to better scientific progress. There was much better shopping, and more fun parties.
The experience of the last twenty years has shown all of these assumptions to be hopelessly naive. The basic assumption of the democratic process is to give people information and allow them to make a choice. David Feldman in Psychology Today has a readable article on Why People believe things that aren’t True. If you’ve ever had experience of this, David goes into some of the neural and psychological mechanisms why.
Ivor Gaber looks at how these problems work out in practice. His examples are from Britain, but they apply to every open-information society in the world in Strategic lies: deliberate untruths used as a political weapon from The Conversation.
We at LSS will venture a little heresy. It is very easy now to decry the work of Sigmund Freud. Alright, maybe this humane, essentially decent man got a lot wrong. Maybe he wasn’t always very scientific. But he has performed one great service; he pointed attention fairly and squarely at the subconsious. About how its unacknowledged grievences, its unspoken desires, slights and wounds are the real drivers of so much belief, and so little real reason. We think that until political and constitutional systems evolve that address these needs, then democracies can expect to fail in the long term. And that certain people in certain countries can’t wait for this to happen.
#politics #democracy #authoritarianism #freud #subconcious