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Death of US democracy?

CONTROVERSIES that sparked the greatest conflicts in American politics in the past are now reconciled to the point of moral absolutism.

Slavery and racial discrimination are no longer a topic of debate in their fundamental form.

We are dealing with the last remnant of such progressions, which is affirmative action, and the controversy surrounding that is not one rooted in racism, but surrounds equal opportunity.

Nuanced knowledge of the constitution, history, equal opportunity laws and basic economics is requisite for having a functional debate about affirmative action.

The issue is no longer one between black people or white people, or proponents of slave labour and proponents of freedom.

Racial supremacy has no place in the world of politics anymore. We have reached some sort of a consensus.

Today, same-sex marriage, religious rite and abortion are the issues of moral controversy in America.

They are issues that are both accessible and relevant to the general population.

Democracy has shown that, given time, the masses will tell you what is just and unjust.

But America is heading towards a moral consensus.

What happens when that moral consensus is reached and it is no longer faith or a conception of "what is right" that drives people to vote?

What happens when there is no longer the question of same sex marriage or abortion?

What happens when the masses are required to choose between two highly nuanced economic models that less than one per cent of the population is qualified to assess?

What happens when people are told not to vote for what they think is the "right thing to do", but the most efficient, functional and beneficial thing to do?

There is no longer a need for democracy in a highly nuanced, technologically advanced, theoretically complex world where there are no longer issues of moral controversy.

When national issues are reduced to ones that require erudite knowledge of a certain field and experience in that field, it no longer makes sense to put things to a vote.

It's like putting the responsibility of deciding whether Pluto should be categorised as a planet or not in the hands of the general American population.

Not only will you have low turnout rates for that election, but your results will be as useful as an iPhone is to a squirrel.

Ask the folks at Nasa, it's their opinion that matters on this issue - and not the opinion of your local chiropractor.

When society reaches that point, democracy will be a useless tool.

Like an old suitcase, democracy will be kept around until it takes up too much space and you have to clean up.

At that point you sell it, or in other words export it to Iraq.

But is it possible that this would open the door to fascism, which would reintroduce moral controversies - and by extension make democracy relevant again?

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jul 8, 2012
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