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Context : OnDemocracy

Quora Answer : Is democracy the best ideology to run a country or the world?

Jul 1, 2020

It's better to think of it like this.

It's the best fail-safe we have against truly appalling governments that start killing us either through grotesque mistakes or deliberate malice.

It's not perfect. DonaldTrump and JairBolsonaro were democratically elected and are still managing COVID death-counts that are appallingly high.

But ... if, longer term, governments always have to renew their mandate by consulting everyone, then we do have a mechanism to get rid of the systematically bad ones.

Without that fail-safe, the tendency is for even good leaders to go bad. To start convincing themselves that they are always the best judge of the nation's interests and that their opponents are always rogues and wreckers. Eventually these delusions and mistakes mount up and long-running dictators end up with a history of bad decisions and oppressive behaviour.

It would be good to find new ways of coming up with policies and evaluating them. Extra constraints on elected politicians aren't such a bad thing.

But ultimately, some kind of regular renewal of the mandate for anyone in charge of anything, by everyone who is affected by it, is a crucial mechanism.

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