The Church of Democratic Enlightenment
Oh, you're there, Hi,
I'm learning to construct this website so it'll look nice, but I've really just started.
I'll leave the stuff below beginning "One of the central propositions on which CODE rests is that Marxism was an error" there for historical interest, since that was how the website began initially a couple of years ago. There'll be qualifications of some of the points now, though I think it's still basically right.
But, as they will, events have overtaken me, I started busking and handing out the first of the CODE leaflets yesterday, 2nd March 2020 in Peel St (Tamworth, the Centre of World Democracy, heh heh Australia) and of course this web address was on it. So I need an up to date explanation for you here of what's happening.
The first of the leaflets, against all likelihood, was titled TAMWORTH ONLY MUSIC, and I'll publish that on one of the later pages of this site, the ACTION page. Later leaflets will be longer and I'll have to charge for them. But the "unlikelihood" of starting serious CODE community engagement with a leaflet about the music industry, instead of something like whether citizens rule the democracy, and then how they can, (probably leaflets 2 and 3) was just me not realising that CODE covers everything in the society, broadly speaking. So as you'll see if you read the leaflet it ends up raising questions about how money is now operating under capitalism. Oh, two pages is too long to hand out in the street - I made $6:20.
My error in thinking the pop music industry might somehow be separate from CODE points to another misconception of mine. I've probably been thinking I'd spend four or five years working on theory and then launch it on the world as a finished product. Wrong, and perhaps foolishly oblivious to the communal nature of the whole thing. My thinking was perhaps correct in the sense that your theory has to be fundamentally sound, and so have the benefit or test of being applied to different elements in society. But really, from its basis in the 18th Century Enlightenment and going back from there to Christianity, there probably wasn't much danger of its being unsound. Over these four years or so it has hardly shifted from its basis that democracy is falling apart as a merely political phenomenon especially under the stress of the corruption of free enterprise by capitalism, and that the Revolutionaries and others were right in that it needs to be a religion of both the communal citizenship of Fraternity - which I roughly equate with the Charity of Christianity - and Reason, the other instrument by which the people need to rule if they want to be free.
So, the finished product turns out to have been finished pretty much from the start at that basic level. it's the idea that its development and application could reach some point of completion by me that was wrong. I suppose this is where some people - probably Lenin and Mao - have got the idea that revolution is continuous, and they seem to be right about that anyway. I'm better to just start putting the
ideas to people now and see how they develop collectively.
3 march 2020
ORIGINAL INTRODUCTION FROM 2017-18
One of the central propositions on which C.O.D.E rests, is that Marxism was an error
But this has to be understood in context. The French Revolution had as its motto Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
The Revolution wasn't socialist at all, and didn't challenge private property, but it did institutionalise the democratic power of the people, and in in this sense gave birth to the left. The representatives of the people sat on the left in the National Assembly.
The revolution itself had a problem. The church was societally corrupt, in that, like the nobility, it had vast wealth and paid no taxes, while some ordinary people starved. The revolution set its face against the church therefore, opening up the election of high church officials to voting by all the people, even atheists, and generally being hostile to the church in a way the French people didn’t like. That can perhaps be seen as the start of the trouble.
It relates to the other problem the revolution had, and that was with Fraternity.
Fraternity would later be associated in political theory with socialism where everyone in the society was materially equal, Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat, the system of common ownership of the means of production, property, etc.
But the economic system of democracy was always bound to be capitalism. By the time of the French revolution in 1789, the industrial revolution was well under way in England, which had also arguably anticipated France in the beginnings of parliamentary democracy by 500 years – Magna Carta, 1215. The French revolution drew heavily on English parliamentary democracy, such as it was, and there was never any doubt that the industrial revolution would sweep Europe with capitalism.
Capitalism didn't start out very fraternal, as we know
and its competitive nature doesn’t immediately suggest fraternity
Not at least, in the way socialist theory does. Marx of course picked up on the competitive evils of capitalism and wrote a book which was a blueprint for socialist revolution, Capital. But “dictatorship of the proletariat” seemed to give the game away from the start, communism turned to dictatorship, and the democratic heart of the French revolution was lost in communism.
It may well be that but for the misjudgement of the revolutionaries about religion and the value the people placed on the church, the Marxist error would never have occurred. That would have required the revolutionaries to anticipate that capitalism would be the economy of democracy, a big ask. But the first frustrating thing is that the revolutionaries had in the Christian church, or its doctrine, the means of beginning the socialisation of capital. Christianity, with its doctrines of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and Love thy neighbour as thyself, anticipated the Social Contract of Rousseau in France, and Locke earlier in England, by about 1700 years.
Christianity, while not against private property in any consistent way, is very much against worldly wealth at the cost of spiritual faith and devotion. Its rather incongruous partnership with capitalism seems to work because it balances capitalism, deplores its excesses.
So instead of the error of pursuit of communism, it looked like what was needed to achieve the fraternity of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity was a socialisation, a humanisation, of capitalism, which would have retained the Liberty, and Equality, of the revolution’s democracy, the political partner of capitalism.
Communism, although it claimed the left, never really had a hope of delivering fraternity. It divided society into two classes, capitalists and proletariat, in a nutshell, and said the proletariat had to kill the capitalists, again in a nutshell. Not fraternal. Whereas revolutionary fraternity would have required the opposite – harmonising and reconciling the two classes, the newly empowered, ruling people saying to capital, we love your free enterprise, your competitive efficiency, your technological progressiveness, but we don’t want your exploitation, greed and criminality.
So the left wasted 150 years with Communism
instead of working on the socialisation of capital through the Christian faith and church.
That waste of time, and the revolution’s disregard of the people’s devotion to the church, produced another unexpected and possibly disastrous effect – an unsocialised capital, allowed to develop without the moderating influence of the church, began to destroy democracy itself, as it appears. It did do this through inequality, as we would expect, but, free of Christianity, it did this in the particular way of elevating the material above all else, above religion and the spiritual in particular, which removed the Christian restraint on inequality of wealth, but in the same process progressively extinguished the spirituality in the society.
Runaway capitalism in the modern form is proving, it seems, to offer an empty life to the people, a life in which materialism offers little nourishment to the spirit. The democracies will fall if the people feel their lives are empty, and they are unhappy, and that seems to be precisely what is occurring now. Both Pope Francis and Mark Latham express this view in their respective ways.
The Church of Democratic Enlightenment thus takes the view,
going back to Christian doctrine anticipating the revolution’s and enlightenment’s social contract, that Christianity had a rightful claim on the world as well as on Heaven.
We can now see that without the religious devotion to freedom as a god, the people of the democracies will let their rule of society slide into the hands of elites of wealth and power of various kinds, while the people work to maintain the economy for the benefit of those elites while distracted by the trinkets of the market and the phony drama of the media. And we know that if the people do not rule, fascism of one form or another, soft or hard, is the alternative to democracy.
So the Church of Democratic Enlightenment offers the worldly religion of freedom that Christianity needs, was entitled to, but could not take on, and still can’t. I hope I can say the CODE conception is fairly unproblematic. Briefly, people have no trouble with freedom as a god, or they wouldn’t have died for it in their millions in the World Wars of the 20th Century and in many other arenas.
Christianity could, and should in theory have said, we offer the God of Heaven and eternal life, and we offer the god of democracy, of the freedom of human free will, and there it is in the scriptures. But there were also good practical reasons why the Christian church could not say this. Francis is now trying to bridge the gap between Christianity and the world with global warming as the issue.
But arguably, since 1543, when Copernicus started the modern scientific revolution, the church needed to realise that it would lose ground in a competition with materialism while they remained separate. The church needed a religion of the world in democracy, and democracy needed the spirituality of Christianity, to be a religion. Only if the people see freedom as a god, their worldly god, will they be capable of the organisation and discipline required to acquire rule of the society.
We know that the enlightenment added to Christianity that reason was an indispensable condition of democracy
and that gives us the two devotional observances of CODE, rationality and fraternity.
There is nothing in theory to suggest that democracy could survive on any other basis than a combination of these two things. CODE – I – perhaps add to theory that the two are interdependent in ways perhaps not fully realised. But it seems clear that without an organisation of the people based on these two disciplines, there will be no democracy. We can expect our grandchildren to quite likely live at gunpoint for the more or less later years of their lives. We know at the same time that is hard to say whether fraternity will be harder to achieve from our present fragmented community, or rationality against the lies and emotive irrationality of our politics and the marketplace. Nevertheless, their necessity requires a church, and in effect a clergy, fully accountable to the people and as devoted to the quest for perfection in their disciplines, unattainable as it is, as any priest, nun, or saint. There’s no real choice.
INTRODUCTION CONTINUED - 2020
Now, 7th March 2020, finally activating this website as a public instrument of CODE means bringing an overall perspective on it up to date.
Happily, the old Introduction above remains sound, so I can build on it without having to worry about repetition.
However, as forewarned above, after I'd spent two days drafting this new Introduction, the day after that - 9th March 2020 - editing the draft, theory took another leap, in the middle of the draft. Rather than jump at the March 9 conclusion here at the outset, I've preserved the original sequence of the exposition, dating the insertion, thinking the sequence I followed might make it easiest to follow.
7th March 2020
How do you explain in some concise, summary form, what a reconstruction of the whole of society is about?
Okay, the big picture's a clue (remember I'm still learning this website compilation). But to answer the question:
CODE's about popular rule, and that's going to involve discipline for the people the nature of which is religious.
So, that's done it in under 20 words, and although those 20 words need elaborating, they are hardly obscure or difficult elaborations. Of course it's about popular rule in democracies - what else? Popular rule is what defines democracies, it's missing, they're falling apart, and that's because it's missing. How couldn't it be falling apart if it lacks the one and only thing that supposedly enables it to work?
The need for discipline in the citizenry that was supposed to rule the nation and the world looks pretty obvious, given such goals, but the people have been led to believe that no, they were so free that they could do as they liked to the extent of voting, and reading the paper and watching television to that end, in order to rule the nation. Because that is as ridiculous as it sounds, they haven't achieved rule of the nations, and they haven't acquired the disciplines necessary for that rule.
RULE AND RELIGION
Now the truth is, when you talk about the ordinary people, everyone, acquiring the disciplines needed to rule nations, it's pretty hard to see what you could mean but religion. Ordinary people have never ruled nations. Monarchs, kings and queens, emperors have ruled the nations, and overwhelmingly they have been divine, gods or anointed by or directly representative of gods or God. If they weren't themselves the leader of religion in their society, I'd guess without exception they've been allied in the exercise of their authority with the institution and leaders of religion. So just on that rudimentary historical logic, a ruling people is going to be religious.
It is no surprise that the people who did the thinking about modern democracy saw it in religious terms. The Enlightenment thinkers expounding principles of freedom and human rights did it still within the old monarchical framework, a king of divine right. The benign monarchs who were going to provide these freedoms - and in some countries did provide some - were divine. Then you had the French revolutionaries realising that democracy was the only way to realise those principles, and I'll come back to them. But the Enlightenment and Revolution had drawn on the English institutional leadership of several centuries, and that was a constitutional monarchy of divine right. The revolutionaries drew on the new American nation, and Alexis de Tocqueville, a French aristocrat, toured America in the 1830s, just forty years after the French Revolution. He wrote Democracy in America, which I haven't had time to read, and am thinking about organising a group reading of it on the Education page. But here's what Isaac Kramnick attributes to Tocqueville in his Introduction to it:
"America was proof that the democratic spirit did not necessarily degenerate into anarchy and disorder as writers in the Western tradition ever since Plato had predicted. Europeans need not fear the future, for, as Tocqueville demonstrated, America was a democracy where liberty, property and religion were all highly honoured. Nor could Europeans stop the democratic tide. It was historically inevitable, indeed, divinely inspired. To resist democracy was, according to Tocqueville, to resist the will of God. For seven hundred years democratic revolutionary ideals had spread through Europe seeking to broaden the avenues of power, and behind it all Tocqueville saw the egalitarian ideals of Christ, the conviction that human beings were by nature equal and alike." (p xxv)
I'll come back to Christ, who is of course today commonly referenced as a democratic source in The Australian newspaper and generally, as I'll come back to the replacement of the divine monarch of France with democracy. But to maintain the original progression of my thinking about this, we know that for all the French revolutionaries drew on England and America, they did this with an inspirational fervour unequalled outside France. We know this fervour cast the new democracy in religious terms. But how, with the ordinary people replacing the divine monarchs, with them turning the democratic revolutionary ideals of seven centuries to which Kramnick and Tocqueville refer into reality, with them overturning Western opinion since Plato that democracy would disintegrate, was this going to work? Clearly, this was about the ordinary person transforming themselves through unwavering self-belief into a highest possible state of being. We know this was the underlying premise of the Enlightenment and Revolution. And as to religion, we can see that the analogy of it, for instance, with the Christian's disciplined pursuit of virtue, self-purification of sin, for heavenly salvation, was unmistakeable.
SPIRITUALITY AND DEMOCRACY
Religion entails spirituality, is largely identifiable with it. I don't think we need to claim for formal religion a monopoly of spirituality. At a more mundane level, what is our reverence for those things we truly love as expressing a beauty, a value, a goodness without which we would feel our very lives and selves compromised and impaired, but our spirituality? Is it called spiritual for some other reason than that it involves those feelings and experiences that are above the material, mechanical, practical? Those inspired contacts with our soul? It's probably worth noting how mundane in the general view these things can be: for young men, or not so young, a beloved car, for girls, it seems, more than boys, pop stars, for lots of people, favourite domestic animals, horses having some way of their own, it seems, of making human connection, without denying the claims of dogs and other creatures. There can be circumstances where forms of economic and material success can be spiritual. I'm a bit worried that some of the strongest evidence we can see of this is folk flinging themselves from high-rise windows when stock markets crash, but of course it's not all negative, as we'll see. I think this mundane spirituality sharpens the point of CODE that if these things are spiritual, surely our freedom is easily conceived of as sacred, that people will die defending it against tyranny leaving no doubt of its spiritual power.
But if we can talk spiritually of cars and horses, that points all the more to spirituality of our association with our fellow humans and citizens. They are who we fall in love with and love most of all, naturally as ourselves, they are our inseparable partners in democratic society, as, let's pull no punches, they are to us potentially the greatest danger, barring biospheric catastrophe, defining the duality of civilisation and barbarism. It is with our fellow citizens that we must unite to rule, the will of a tolerant majority being all democracy was ever premised on, and divided from whom we must accordingly fall. They are who we must reason with if we are to govern, who we must love if our unity is not to be fragmented.
DISCIPLINES RELIGIOUS AND DEMOCRATIC
As to disciplines then, when we consider that to rule the Earth involves the addition of Reason to Love, and addition which must add substantial disciplinary demands to the disciplines of Love, there can hardly be any doubt that we are talking about religious discipline. If there was doubt, to dispel it we would only have to consider that the Revolutionary Fraternity of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity can be seen as going back to the Christianity of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", "Love thy neighbour as thyself", and so on. How democracy which then added the further discipline of reason to that Christian Love could be anything other than religious defies imagination, and it comes as no surprise that the revolutionaries, and later writers like Tocqueville, viewed it as such. My account in CODE of the operational interdependence of Reason and Love is really just another add-on to their partnership already already established as the disciplines of a religion which is democracy.
The historical and logical sequences here are parallel. Jesus could not expect the people of two thousand years ago to rule the nation, as much as he anticipated democracy, The Bible does this not just with Love, as Paul says, even above Faith and Hope (Corinthians 1 13), and that is not to overlook that both faith and hope are very revolutionary Enlightenment, but by making people equal in the sight of God, made in His image no less, saying "The meek shall inherit the Earth", telling his people that "...whoever would be great among you must be your servant" (Matthew 20 25-26) and much more, not least of which was His own human individuality. Enlightenment and revolution in France, England and the United States decided 1800 years later that the people were ready to rule, now being capable of the further requirement of Reason for that. The religious character of what is involved is inescapable, hence CODE.
This is not the place to dwell on the fact that democracy has in its modern history been seen as only political in character for the most part, rather than spiritual, beyond the fact that this was an error which accounts for democracy's current decline in the early 21st Century, wholly or partly depending on the emphasis in one's analysis. I should take just one major example associated with this in our society, an overwhelmingly economic life. Whether that's of trying to turn insufficiency into sufficiency, sufficiency into comfort, and for the tiny minority who turn comfort into opulence I can't speak, but with this process involving for nearly everyone either welfare dependence, or working for or struggling against large corporations, state and private, it seems relatively minimal in its spiritual offering. (I'll come back to "relatively"). Here I think Marx's theory of alienation, especially of labour, must repay study, including whether it extends to the small businessperson. What I have sketched seems to be a life too much of servitude to economic gain, competition posing the serious risk of isolation of the individual, perhaps in the nuclear family, from community, a lifetime of highly specialised routine application of intelligence, if any intelligence is required in a job, falling far short of realisation of full intellectual potential. It all offers little scope for the spirituality of community or Reason. Constant focus on material externals, even luxuries, seems to detract from considering - Pope Francis' word is "distract" - what would make our lives most meaningful, individually and jointly with others. It's another way of saying we have elite rule rather than democratic full realisation of the individual and the people. The simple contrast is with the spirituality of ruling the society, always with all that implies.
CAPITALISM WRECKING DEMOCRACY: QUALIFICATION 1
I come back to "relatively minimal" above because I do not want to fall into an error of saying what is destroying democracy is capitalism. That may be objectively true, but it has two important qualifications. First, capitalism may be just one form of a more fundamental underlying error, that of thinking all rule was mainly material or temporal. The second is that other economic and political systems than capitalism may be more spiritually barren.
To take the second qualification first, capitalism may not have been the historical partner of both democracy and Christianity for no reason. CODE has repeatedly maintained that the freedom of free enterprise and the freedom of democracy are cognate, and I'm using "free enterprise" and "private business" as rough synonyms for capitalism. I meant by this that freedom to start what business you liked, where you liked, run it as you thought best, benefit privately from its success, contrasted capitalism favourably with a state economy where everyone and everything was centrally planned and controlled, What I have to suggest further, partly as a result of my "going into business" with CODE, and busking in connection with it, is that there is a spiritual dimension of private business which is democratic.
Private business involves, at the right level, sympathy between buyer and seller over a product, someone giving me the money I need to live, me giving them a product they need to live, to state the bottom line on both sides. At this level of private business, we help each other. Much private business does not occur at this level, especially as corporations outgrow the community and the nation. But what I have described is fundamental, communal, and in that sense spiritual and democratic. Compared to state government and economy, where the state takes everything or nearly everything depending on the country, and returns it in one form or another to the people in general, (what they don't keep for themselves or give to their cronies), free enterprise has this personal democratic spirituality between citizens.
This, like many of the matters touched on in this Introduction, is not an area of the comfortable summary of what is to come later one might expect here. Acknowledgement is due to claims that a paternal state which shares wealth much more equally materially frees the people to be more fraternal. I nevertheless have felt a sympathetic connection to the local businesspeople I've dealt with over CODE. But if I'm really selling thought, people may say "Thought's free, freedom of thought, you can do as much of it as you want yourself, if there was any point". If I am suggesting large corporate morality like that which prevails in Pretty Woman, will people cynically reply that that only wins out with Julia Roberts - in movies? Say the same of the old style businessmen Trump praises in The Art of the Deal? It may be that at this level it depends on government always being bigger than the corporation, but I'll come to that.
The previous paragraph is actually another insert from a few days after 7th March, but I'm not having a dating sequence that collides with the printed and reasoned sequence. The second qualification I mentioned about capitalism and democracy belongs in the next section, dated 9 March, though it too is inserted from later. So, it's just read as printed.
9th March 2020
In fact, it seems that 2 days after the paragraph three above beginning "This is not the place to dwell on the fact that democracy has in its modern history..." was written, this is indeed the place to dwell on modern democracy being seen as only political. There you go.
CAPITALISM WRECKING DEMOCRACY: QUALIFICATION 2
I am going to deal with the second qualification I mentioned above, an error of thinking that all rule is material or temporal, (I use "temporal" as distinct from "religious", though CODE is Earthly). This may anticipate a little of what follows it.
I have argued that much of what the democracy of the French Revolution replaced was religious, such as the divine monarch, and in status the Church itself. But as far as the monarch goes, it can be replied that the monarch also ruled temporally, and that material was the primary nature of the king's power, really overriding the king's own divinity and even perhaps the alliance with the Church. Why should not the democracy which replaced the monarchy be seen as equally driven by the forces of temporal rule, as mainly political? Well, there's no reason it shouldn't be seen that way, in that it is a natural mistake to make, except that it is a mistake.
What the transfer of the temporality of monarch to democracy overlooks is that democratic rule is a different kind of rule. For the monarchy, a temporal dominance may have been OK, although many will argue, no, the divinity was always dominant. But, I am suggesting, democracy's different. With the changed form of rule to democracy, the religious needed to become completely dominant. I've just defended capitalism in a relative sense against the charge of aspirituality. I think we can comfortably argue that as capitalism has brought the West to affluence, a purely material notion of rule might well see the people narrowly focused on their material well-being, with the oppressive and despiritualising effect described in the earlier paragraph where I mentioned the qualifications on capitalism's despiritualising effects. It would be no wonder if the people lose faith in democracy if this error robs us of spiritual satisfaction, as well as executive effectiveness for the people, by causing its misrule. The guilt of capitalism, real enough viewed objectively in isolation, is actually the error of temporal, material rule rather than the religious rule democracy requires.
Here I think we can argue that the French revolutionaries on the back of the Enlightenment had it right.
They had no problem with private property, or free enterprise, never advocated socialism. Neither did they anticipate capitalism, and thus the present situation of huge corporations which have arisen in conjunction with the small-government and market-force-solutions philosophy of the capitalist nations. But if the Revolution advocated aa government which was fully responsible in both senses, fully attentive and executive in respect to all the people's interests, and fully accountable to them, and particularly government by parliament properly representing the people rather than by market forces, that revolutionary prescription would have cured some of the worst ills of capitalism we confront today. The root of the problem of small government economic laissez-faire is, I think, the notion that it is parliament that governs, with a material power, instead of the view that it is the people who govern, with a religious power, to which the parliament is fully subject.
The idea that the "left" was born in the National Assembly appears as an appropriation of the popular interest by left-wing ideology like Marxism.
The National Assembly had the interests of the people covered by a democracy governed by all the people religiously, small government and market force solutions being largely a dispossession of the popular power by the forces of money-making, plutocracy and popular division to that end. It suits the interests of capitalists well to characterise fully responsible government as "socialism".
(This ends the insertion, actually 11th March 2020. If anyone tells you they can produce a finished reconstruction of the whole society, and they can show you it in writing, they've done something I can't.)
Enter your text here...
Democracy is a religion only
It is the background to the French Revolution, the springboard from which it took off, that I must come back to now. This time I can quote Tocqueville on the French Revolution:
"The French Revolution evolved in reference to this world in exactly the same manner as religious revolutions acted in relation to the world beyond the grave...
… It inspired the missionary spirit and fostered propaganda as a result of which it was able to assume the air of a religious revolution which so terrified people at the time. Or rather it became itself a species of new religion, barely formed, it is true, Godless, without ritual or an afterlife …"
The Ancien Regime and the Revolution p 27
That the Revolutionaries saw democracy as a religion cannot, as far as I can see, be doubted. Tocqueville here documents their religious fervour near-contemporaneously. To the earlier observations about the divinity of the monarch they were dispossessing, I should add that dispossess him they did, and his wife, to the horror of the French people, of their heads.
"To the average Frenchman" H A L Fisher notes, "no respectability remained to a party which had given a regicide vote.." (History of Europe p 902)
Again, you don't guillotine monarchs, in late 18th Century France, except in the name of a higher divine authority. But the Revolutionaries were just getting warmed up. Not chronologically; the dispossession of the Church of its lands and privileges came earlier, but to modern eyes, to whom perhaps the execution of the king may not seem such an epic crime, in scale. On top of the sort of privations I've mentioned, the Church, Catholic, "..specially marked out for the resentment of an anti-clerical Assembly" (Fisher p 889) was subjected to having its bishops elected by constituencies that could have included Protestants and atheists, a "gratuitous affront to the religious convictions of the people". (ibid) The National Assembly split the clergy into rebels and compliers. It may not be compellingly obvious to us today, but from this glance at 18th Century France, the idea that the Assembly was saying to the French people in effect "We're not having religion any more, just doing politics, you know, religion's out" is plainly vacuous. Even more than with Louis and Marie Antoinette, it can only have been the replacement of one religion with another.
In a way, then, a criticism I have made of the Revolutionaries in the old Introduction, printed above, isn't fair. I say that maybe "..but for the misjudgement of the revolutionaries about religion and the value the people placed on the church, the Marxist error would never have occurred". So I imply that the revolutionaries made the mistake of going ahead with their revolution without a religion. But no. They thought they had a religion. They were right. They did, and it was democracy. Their thinking was pretty skimpy, dumping an established church with a global institutional structure and proven popular adherence for something of unknown religious appeal and capability. I guess that's what revolutionary fervour does. But in my defence, that daffy conception of the revolutionaries telling the French that religion was out and henceforth it was just politics in fact mirrors precisely the way democracy then developed and is perceived to-day - politics, not religion. I also say in the old Introduction, very relevant to this, that "there was never any doubt that the industrial revolution would sweep Europe with capitalism". I meant, there was no doubt to me, with the 20/20 vision of 2018. Now I've got real 2020 vision, hoho. And I then got it right by saying the revolutionaries missed the significance of the capitalist developments across the English Channel. (Fisher, p 878)
The point is that the revolutionaries could claim to have had the answer to capitalism in their new democratic religion of Liberty Equality Fraternity - if democracy had retained its religious character. I have seen the conflict between capitalism and the Revolutionary motto mostly with Fraternity, which at the same time I identify with Christian Charity or humane Love. So I acknowledge that they dumped the Church one minute and put its Christian essence back the next. Fraternity didn't work against capitalism, but then the Christian Church didn't either in countries where it remained undisturbed. But I'm saying Fraternity failed because the conception of democracy shifted from religious to political. If Fraternity had been given effect as "All the people ruling together, including the parliamentarians", it may have been more effective with capitalism. Again on revolutionary optimism, if they had understood the situation with capitalism, they might nevertheless have expected Equality to be a bulwark against it. Today, rightly or wrongly, capitalism's inequality is the chief charge against it. But as part of a religion rather than a politics of democracy, Equality may also have been more effective. Liberty, just to complete the treble, seems to have been the best success of the motto. But freedom to do little or nothing is a hint that most citizens would hardly give Freedom full marks. As politics, the Revolution's democracy would hardly score a pass.
Now, having been so gracious about criticising the revolutionaries unfairly, I have to make another criticism of them, which I've realised today, in March 2020, only 231 years later. They forgot to say that democracy is a religion only, nothing else, not a political system like the Westminster parliamentary system, or communism or fascism, (both of which seem to get more credit for being religions, with their leader-gods, than democracy) not a Lodge like the Masons (Da Vinci CODE, Sheesh), not a movement like the Women's Movement, or an ideology, just a religion. I'm not even complaining that they forgot to add "And its god is Freedom, so Stan will be right with CODE". Seriously, if they did say democracy was only a religion, and someone probably did, they didn't get far with it.
What has happened over the past couple of hundred years is the same error as we are making again by saying "political Islam" is "Islam". No, I think the 1.8 billion people who follow the Koran are Islam, and political Islam is a lot of self-serving powermongering made up stuff that Mahommed never wrote. But in that, it is useful in an explanatory way. It shows how these gits who get into little groups of power in something become the thing. And of course it's happened in the Western nations with parliament. Democracy was never about the governing power of parliament. It is about the governing power of the people. But, sure enough, we elect these jokers to their little cabal of parliament, and whaddya know, because parliament is about governing power and its politics, the next thing we're hearing is that democracy is a political system. Who saw that coming?
The religious love or worship of freedom, the disciplined devotion to Reason and Love of their fellow citizens which are the instruments of power in governing democracy, power exercised by the people, are unceremoniously pushed aside, like, for centuries. The parliament, we hear, governs the nation. Which is really handy, because once the people aren't governing, that gives the media its run at power, over the parliament, and the people, and the
bureaucracy the same, and the unions the same, and the rich the same, and the free market, if that's different from the rich, the same, every elite powermonger in our democratic political system gets a go. Political Islam, political democracy. Whereas, you can forget about the religion of communal love ruling anything, because the community is divided by, guess what, politics. Oh, and you can forget about the religion of Reason governing anything. The parliamentary structures of State and Commonwealth, Houses Upper and Lower, are such a mirror maze that no citizen could work out how to vote for any policy with any confidence of its being put into effect, because there isn't a way, It would be interesting to know how many citizens think the public statements of their parliamentarians would assist their reason, when, despite the fact that they sit in the same parliament, they somehow reach diametrically opposite views on so many issues. Or perhaps people's reason is assisted by the encapsulation of these diametrically opposed views in little slogans like "A fair go for those who earn it", "Money for schools and hospitals not billionaires", which during election campaigns especially are repeated a dozen times every day.
Obvious measures for strengthening the popular vote and power over parliament, Voter Policy Ranking, Same Party Member Recall, just to name two proposed by CODE, that anyone could have thought of, well, why worry about that kind of thing, we've got a democracy. It's our political system.
So no, democracy isn't the political mechanism of electing a bunch of people to parliaments to argue about who should pay what taxes or go to gaol for what or how much to spend on schools. Democracy is the religion whereby the people rule through disciplined reason and unity from humane love of their fellow citizens because their rule is the only guarantee of their freedom. What parliament does is what the people tell it to do, because they retain power over it as, Jesus said, their servant. The democracy, like the Church, has a government, like the Vatican; has politics, like any instrument of power; has its people, like the flock of the Church; has its holy books, pretty much all the ones where people have written wisely I guess, especially the ones I quote; has its god and its disciplined devotional observances, like any religion. But, as described, the powermongers manage to make politics the whole system, and the people and their religion get pushed aside as every puff rushes into the vacuum.
A DUMMY SEPARATION
Does this pose a problem for the separation of church and state? Not at all as that principle is conventionally understood, since it was only about all the people making laws and governing. Nobody wanted just the Catholic or just the Anglican Church making laws, especially when its leaders weren't elected by all the people.
Revolutionary democracy never had that problem.
But the separation is a very useful device indeed for establishing that the government of the nation must be secular.
Dictionary.com usefully tells us that means "of or pertaining to worldly things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual or sacred; temporal". That is, it set parliamentarians up very nicely at the head of a democracy which was political, seeming to legitimise the exclusion of a revolutionary democracy which had the alarming feature that the people indeed saw it as spiritual and sacred, which meant they could have ruled through it, further reason for their considering it spiritual and sacred. Excluded, of course, for no apparent reason. I must keep an eye out for whether the Revolution said anything about the separation of church and state, though they'd have meant the Catholic Church. You can't separate the church from the state when they're the same thing.
Consequences of Political Democracy
We've glanced at the interests that moved into the power vacuum created by the people's exclusion. It only remains to glance at some of the effects of government by the parliament of the political society instead of the people of the democratic religion.
We know that, left thus to itself, parliament will spend much time on its own internal politicking, squabbling over which party faction shall provide the prime minister as if the people's election of the national leader had never occurred. The media naturally supports its ideological faction, and the whole thing sells lots of newspapers and attracts big viewer interest. It's bread and circuses for the people if for some reason there's no sport on, like it's half-time or tea.
But it is society we are most concerned with, where we recently discovered that the water in Australia's rivers has become a subject of financial speculation by non-farming interests who hoard it and manipulate its price to farmers. This introduces us to the odd development where market forces seem to create, rather than solve, problems. It seems to be related to the introduction into the driest continent on Earth of cotton farming, very water-heavy, and this through no fault of the farmers concerned, another market failure. Parliament missing in action on both these counts. Houses, in what is unfortunately the most highly urbanised nation in the world, have become too expensive in the cities for young people to buy, while at the same time people own several dwellings as investments. And get tax breaks for them. Market forces, government keep out.
A strange phenomenon has us wondering whether automobiles are a living species, following a period in the 1970s when they got smaller, the old Lincoln Continentals and Ford Galaxies shrinking to minis. This burned less petrol, created more parking space, and was both environmentally and socially celebrated. Then the cars inexplicably got bigger again, bigger than ever. And hey, that was because people bought them, didn't they, freedom of choice, a people well conditioned to consider their interests individually or as part of the smallest family unit, rather than as members of a society they have a responsibility to rule.
All it takes is a TV in every house for people to spend their time watching.
The effects of non-government, oops, small government, are pervasive.
What proportion of potential legal actions are deterred by legal costs, in a society where justice is supposed to be speedily available to all? Apart from the case lawyer's fees, what are "court costs" about? Is this a masterstroke where because the principle that everyone is supposed to have access to court too many people will litigate, so we'll deter them with financial penalty? Apart from creating the reality of justice for the rich, deterrence of legal action also has the handy effect of dividing the people, with grievance unresolved, creating widespread minor lawlessness among those denied access to law. Another negation of community.
In addition to our observation of the elite interests that replace rule by the whole people, we find minorities well placed to pursue their causes against the people as a whole, who will be evilly persecuting them. People claim injury by the speech of others, so as to require the curbing of free speech, rather than leave it to the nasty people to deal with it through what, community? Small government seems to give us no respite from the nanny state, in which in 2019 Australia Wesaw political party and business elite argument that the people could not be trusted to discuss and vote on gay marriage. Yet somehow, the people smashed the world record for endorsement of gay marriage in a voluntary vote. The Prime Minister who orchestrated that had to go. There was a whiff there of both popular power and elective mandate.
Democracy would certainly extend the power of government, but with the difference that the continuing question would be the distinction between proper representation of the interests of all the people and the gratuitous interventions in society of the nanny state on behalf of minority lobbies. The parliament and lobbies are goaded in this by a media which is full of what are in effect lies based on cherrypicking cases about how immoral - racist, sexist, mishomonic, and otherwise discriminatory- the people are, the gay marriage issue being one of dozens like it. No minority will claim to be the victim of a completely unrepresentative extremist fringe, especially one its leaders have done their best, aided by a media dedicated to conflict, to provoke.
"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it come stronger than their democratic state. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual or group." FDR
On a personal note, proposing something against the general view of 200 years creates an uneasiness you just have to live with. The most part of the proposal, that democracy is a religion, is clearly not just some bright idea of mine. I've acknowledged my tradition, various authorities, and the predictions of democracy's failure and its present troubles are well known. They are circumstances in which a different view of democracy is hardly surprising. The extension that democracy should be seen as a religion and nothing else, perhaps containing, like many religions, a political system, may hopefully provoke the reaction "Obviously, any religion can't be seen as anything else. A religion is universal." I'll take obvious any day. Plato apparently thought the people too stupid to govern. So it took those millennia for the Enlightenment to say they weren't. Now it seems we have to give it a go. Maybe we needed to get to that point and, as an old friend, Alan Ruby used to say, take things back to basics.
It's probably appearing to contradict John Stuart Mill that worries me the most, since I don't think he said democracy was a religion. It's a foolish worry. I don't think I can take the position I have here about how fast all this changes and worry about departures from Mill after 160 years. Mill couldn't have imagined our media. My talking outside the parliamentary structures doesn't lessen the need for their most effective form that Mill focuses on, but increases it. I'll be seeking support through CODE for a form of Thomas Hare's national constituency MPs that Mill supported.
Enter your text here...
Bertrand Russell suggests that in Mill's time - Russell was speaking of Mill's contemporary, Jeremy Bentham - there may have been misplaced faith in parliament:
"He seems to have thought that by means of democracy combined with adequate supervision, legislators could be so controlled that they could only further their private interests by being useful to the general public. There was in his day not much material for forming a judgement as to the working of democratic institutions, and his optimism was therefore perhaps excusable, but in out more disillusioned age it seems somewhat naïve."
History of Western Philosophy p 744
If I'm going to contradict Mill in the 1860s I don't mind going with Russell in the 1940s.
So, folks, time to step up. Luckily, they have taken so much power from us, that starting to get it back in big chunks, like with Voter Policy Ranking, won't be hard.
People will take what's written here as they find it, but I don't think a revolutionary perspective on it is uncomfortable. A civil revolution. It's about the people taking back power that's been taken from them. Or, if that's making too much of the Revolution, the elites taking power that should have been the people's. I think that's important, because in response to the current brawling about which existing system is the right one - the brawling vigorously promoted by the elites to keep the chattering classes diverted with chattering - it's best to be able to say, simply, that there isn't a "right one". We've had ideas about an acceptable system, a Revolution for one, but we've never got there, never had one.
The elites who took that power know that if the people elevate themselves to take it, the elite heyday is over. They'd be keen to keep us passively and dividedly diverted from real power, play on our weaknesses, and try to pass that off as democratic leadership.
Looks like we trusted them and they let us down.
I think after expounding a lot of theory you need to explain how to put it into effect, straight away, even though that is strictly for the Theory and Practice page on this site. Giving effect to this theory presents a quandary, in that I've said it's easy for the people to make s start acquiring more power, yet I'm saying people will have to rise to a level of citizenship never before achieved. The resolution of that quandary may be that people have not risen to greater heights of citizenship, stronger discipline, and so on, precisely because they have deprived of power, that the order of things you'd expect, where the citizens improve to get power, has to be seen in the reverse light, that it is not having power that has kept the citizen down, gaining power thus itself elevating. It really looks like the depowering of the people may involve the mechanism of not letting the people taste power in the first place so they'll never know what they were missing, never get a sense of what it requires, never have to rise to that level. "Ignorance is bliss" as someone recently put it on Facebook, except that the people are not happy with their politics or society. The elites seem able to live with that, as long as people are "happy" with their impotence, happily squabbling, happily watching television. More on this later. The hopeful part of it is, if the people can make a start of gaining power, that will itself be democratically uplifting of them, in Reason and communal Fraternity.
I've used the "easy-sounding" term "implementation" in the heading, with the tone of "Here's the policy, here's how to apply it". But even on the optimistic view, that power will itself improve us - I'll get to Voter Policy Ranking in a moment - I think we have to recognise that improvement by power will only be a start - that power will make serious demands for its proper exercise. And there's the worry, which is again for later, that just changing mechanics of power in the system leaves the way open for further manipulative depowerment of the people - that the seat of popular power can only ever be properly in the people themselves, their consciousness of the necessity of their rule to freedom, through Reason and Charity. The extent of the demands of power on the people is suggested by the following article of the CODE manifesto, which will be on the Theory and Practice page:
"The CODE democratic citizen is at the same time a ruler of society, a supplicant to their fellow citizens, and a slave to Reason."
That's a lot, and demanding, though also rewarding. No more suffering by personal comparison with other people. You can't rule equally and do that. We're supplicants to our fellow citizens for Fraternity - Charity, Love, trust - in return of course for our offering it to them. That'll put occasional strains on the imagination. Yes, everyone is always a slave to Reason, if they want to get anything right. People who aren't just piggyback on the ones who are, until they bring them both down. But however necessary people think Reason is, I don't think many will consider it's easy, in the arena of discussion with other people, nor assisted by the postmodernists Derrida saying it's tyranny, and Foucault, torture.
But, I've also said above that we've been so substantially depowered, that that has made gaining substantially increased popular power easy thorough changes to the mechanics of voting and government that are pretty obvious, Voter Policy Ranking being just one, but a notable case. Being mechanics, that's immediately a Rule and Reason thing. I'll leave the details to Theory and Practice, but the end result of it is that after each election you'll have from the people a priority order of a full range of governing policies, maybe twenty or thirty, a full governing program for the government, but very fully informed as to the people's priorities among the policies of the losing party, which may have got the support of nearly half the people. So, popular rule, subject to parliamentary discretion and explanation; greater policy emphasis in the parties; much stronger bipartisanship; empowered elective mandate; Senate, media and States now positioned as much more openly defying the will of the people; better quality Party personnel; so it goes on. And this brought about by, say, one in fifteen voters for starters, a million, reading maybe 60 one-page policy statements from the parties, so they can do the policy ranking. It'll catch on. We may not have to get rid of the Constitutionally corrupted Senate and the six superfluous States in a country with less people than California, Texas or Florida.
That sketches the spread of a mechanical change through the political system, with considerable effect, reminding us of two things. First, that happens in systems - interdependence of elements. But more important, the depowering of the Australian people is a deception, a fine deception in that it must be maintained that Australia is a democracy, even though it isn't. The characteristic of most deceptions is that you only have to expose them at one point, lift the concealing veil to reveal part of the hidden truth, and they dissolve completely. Nobody's eavesdropping behind the curtain? So that foot we can now see belongs to nobody?
So, the mechanics of dominoes within the political system and all it includes are one thing. And the feedback of mechanical change to improvement of the people we can see straight away. A million people, just one voter in fifteen, reading 60 pages of proper policy explanation from the parties, prioritising the policies, is demanding of effort and reason. Will a mechanical change towards greater bipartisanship facilitate a more harmonious, uniting and reasoned approach to discussion of issues of government in place of the present partisan rancour? Quite likely, you'd think. But the mass media won't like that. It generically needs conflict, for sales, ratings and its own power, not a quietly united, harmoniously deliberating, ruling people. A more finely reasoning people won't suit political parties of demagogic slogan and ideological prejudice at all. And there is no reason for me to evade the question that the elites will continue to ask: Is a rancorously quarrelling people expressive of the aggressive reality of human nature? Are we not at heart still the barbarians of the law of the jungle before the social contract, the children of our violent evolution? Won't the strategy of making sure out emotions dominate the space where our reason should be, thus keeping it well out of the domain of our loving each other, continue to divide and degrade us into impotence? Can we really stop cannibalising each other's vote? Can we reason about government from a societal as well as an individual interest, ideological or personal? Aren't we, ultimately, helpless prey of our human weaknesses? Aren't they for our leaders to exploit?
Discussion: A Discipline
Looking at Twitter and Facebook - and I strongly support social media, even though that's not the way to get published in the press - do we conclude that we need a discipline of discussion? Whether as suggested mechanical increase in our power raises our standards of citizenship, or we have to do it ourselves, I think a case of how challenging it will be is worth noting, starting from the fact that I don't fully understand it, and so it requires much more development.
Discussion, how we talk to each other to get reasonable answers to questions and problems, must be crucial to democracy. In a grass-roots aspect of how easily the people can gain power, the conclusion of a discussion between 100 citizens may well now be the best available expression of the people's view, only excepting still the vote, weak though that is. All we know, or have known for the most part up to now, is that we are free to say whatever we like, aside from defamation etc, and nothing in democracy can change that, assuming we can defend free speech from our social engineers.
Unfortunately we have as a society taken that "free", with much encouragement, in the same sense as our freedom to take whatever approach we want to playing tennis, eating and drinking what we like, studying for exams however we like, and all the other things we can do how we like as long as we don't want to win, stay healthy, pass, and so on. Each of us being a unique individual, why would we do things in ways common to others, though we are free not to? Isn't the idea in discussion to make sure our position prevails, or appears in the eyes of the world to prevail, in a spirit
of competitiveness, rather than sacrifice that to some societal good?
This isn't the place to expand on our individualism, carefully cultivated by others, though perhaps in our nature. I can suggest only two elements of the discipline of discussion here, that the more comprehensively an issue is considered, the better, and that emotional and often personalising interventions into reasoned discussion detract from its quality.
Comprehensiveness goes to CODE interdependence of reason and humane love. Fuller consideration tends to be morally defusing, suggesting that people acted reasonably, in their own interests, in the circumstances. It cannot do this of behaviour for which, as in some cases, we could never find any excuse. But with blame and grievance now a billion dollar industry, things like just looking at both sides of issues, against selectiveness and one-sidedness, can help with a more favourable general view of humanity. This goes to the other side of interdependence, that humane love and trust between people without which reason will ultimately fail.
Emotional and personalising interventions too often tend to be negative, abusive, as the existence of a term specifically for these, "trolling", testifies. But I think we can see that even appeals for agreement based on purely personal feelings betray reason. Humane love includes respect for the impartiality of fellow citizens' reason. Trust in an overriding love is key. Citizenship is delicate.
Finally for this quick Introduction, heh heh, there is the question of CODE membership and what it implies for participation. I've expressed great optimism about the feedback to the people from improvement in the political machinery. At the same time, I'm acknowledging that the democratic disciplines among the people are still developmental, more like embryonic, even though I think there is a level at which many people believe in them. These disciplines with the people I am further suggesting are the true seat of democracy. On balance of all of this, I have to accept that a fully disciplined democratic life, a comprehensive devotional observance of Reason and Love in the name of freedom by everyone, is many decades away. With "everyone", I should add, taken broadly, I am comfortable here. Democracy is about all the people. Maybe there's things to do, essential things, if you want freedom; if the people want it, they'll do them. But the real nitty gritty of this long process is that after four years of theoretical writing, and four days of learning how to operate this website, I see no alternative to my position that membership of CODE can take many forms from the relatively minor to the life-consuming.
If we cannot realistically hope for universal full democratic citizenship in the short term, that raises the question of establishing CODE in the community. I think a CODE culture can establish a general presence in the community fairly quickly out of proportion to the number of actual members. But that, in turn, must depend I think on all CODE members comprehending the full spirit and implications of CODE, even though that may not be fully reflected in the participation of those who can do relatively little. I should say at the outset that this this will involve living mentally - which I think to many means "living" - in a different world from the present one as we see and understand it. That of course isn't an end in itself, but a proposition that to begin to see the world in terms of the goals of CODE necessary to achieve them, sacred rule, Love and Reason, eventually changes everything. One way, it's just the systems thing of interdependence again. With changes this basic, conceptual change will spread rapidly.
The alternative, of teasing out detailed implications for the system in their scores, and eventually hundreds and thousands, while each one favourably received is an argument for overall change, can as I say take forever, and is constantly at risk of unclarity as to its ultimate aims which risks incoherence. I think the analogy with conversion to Christianity, or Islam, is clearly valid. You can't half-accept Jesus as your Saviour. You can, as I think the reality shows, be a major Christian or a minor one, and at the grass roots level, a dissenting Christian on specifics of doctrine and virtue, indeed quite a way up from the grass roots, it seems. But right from the start, you've got Jesus is the Son of God, and your Saviour, and that is total, beyond the subsequent detail.
Of course, I can't take a comparison between myself and Jesus seriously enough to even discuss it. But just on CODE as a religion, I acknowledge its tradition, going back according to Tocqueville 700 years in Europe, which presumably included England, as I note that Jesus acted in a tradition, as did Mahommed, and the Mormons, and with the Hindus, of course, everyone's their own tradition. Not sure about L Ron Hubbard and the space ship, but that never really took off.
So I think from the outset people need a full understanding of the whole project, such as I've at least got under way, I hope, in this Introduction, while the detail is further worked out. That understanding will hopefully provide some confidence and inspiration in dealing with the details, and participating generally. One per cent of the 35 thousand people we'll say in Tamworth town is 350 people, (though CODE could be taken up anywhere). Just that number, at various levels of involvement, can establish a strong cultural presence. Anyone, such as people whose circumstances allow them to do little more than pay a $10 membership fee and be put on a mailing list, can wear a tee-shirt, cap or badge that says CODE, in some way. That kind of visibility may not be necessary. To take one hypothetical case, the member who took on nothing but questioning ideological partisanship on social media with replies that attempted fairness to both sides, would soon enough be recognisable one way or another as CODE. (Argument that there are two sides I'll address in Theory and Practice). A member who does nothing but join a single demonstration, on an issue of personal interest, like improving the high schools, or climate change, does much to establish CODE's presence. I can do that in the Northern Daily Leader and other media and public activity, but its credibility depends on its being taken up communally. I'll go another step further on participation that may seem invisible, be that minor. Following my comment about living mentally in a different world, I would suggest that even to respond, only inwardly, to yourself, to the occasional open hostility or incivility you see in the community, whether directed at you or between others, that things don't have to be that way, will have its own subtle effect. It's the less visible form of another form of action, if you find anger or hostility directed at you, of not responding emotionally in kind, but rather talking down agitation in a quiet reasoned attempt to fairly and constructively resolve any problem. Kind of olive oil on troubled waters. I may be seeing the best in people, but you'll often find they are reluctant to be excited about things others see nothing to get excited about. No sweat. Other CODE organisers, pastors or whatever, can operate on limited commitment with high effectiveness. The operative who hardly expressed a personal view on an issue, maybe never to make the point, just mediating discussion on which other members took the lead in substance, would be invaluable. The detail of this will find full expression on the Organisation page.
I conclude by saying we just have to be optimistic about imbuing the community with the spirit of CODE. From this Introduction, that's probably a good half hour's reading, but theory was always going to lead to that.
15th March 2020
* * *
PS I think, stepping back from this as we leave, there are certain facts we have to face about democracy. Western readers of this have grown up in supposed democracies. Yet conceptually, rule of society by a single person, monarch or dictator, remains simpler, and to that extent more credible. Even the word "rule" has an overtone of force about it that is more "fascist" than democratic.
This seems to me to argue, again, that the idea of democracy separate from transformative change in the people, is improbable. From being subjects throughout history, they were going to rule. Because they could now read and write? Rule nations more complex and vast than any society of the past? No wonder the old aristocrats and tyrants haven't given up hope.
Further, that conceptual simplicity of monarchy raises the question of agreement or understanding of society and its rule. For millennia, everyone understood that - they knew their place. I think that suggests that society only works if everyone has a clear idea of it, how it's ruled. There's a serious worry that today we see signs that in the democracy everyone can have their own idea of how it's ruled, because they're all free, free individuals in democracy. Uh-huh.
You can continue this reasoning, I think, by saying that the things that have always given people a clear common view of the world have been religions. Or, you can ask how parliament has gone clarifying for everyone that it's going to rule. Whether from the perspective of people's regard for parliament, or the perspective that people don't believe it rules at all, what with the elite competing powers, the rating for parliament is not good. If you further ask whether parliament could raise the people up to a transformed level of rule, the answer you'll get is that the idea is fantastic, if people can even understand what you're talking about.
I don't know, from this, what we could expect democracy to be but a religion.
I think we need to get our act together.
16th March 2020
* * * *