It Makes One Think

            In an essay entitled Does Democracy Mean Something? Jacques Ranciere references a quote attributed to Plato’s Menexenus: ‘the government of the Athenians is a democracy by the name, but it is actually an aristocracy, a government of the best with the approval of the many’. (would it read any different if it said ‘with the approval rating of the many’?). Elsewhere in his writings Ranciere presents an interpretation of democracy as being a governance amongst equals. It would have the quality of being a governance by those whose qualification to govern is the absence of qualification (“whose only commonality is that they have no entitlement to govern”).  Approval ratings and equality, both associated with democracy. Each entails a specific difference.

            The world hasn’t witnessed social upheaval of such an intensity as currently making the news since prior to the collapse of the Berlin wall. At that time we all said “Who’d a thunk it?” Now, no one is speculating on what the consequences of such revolutionary change will be. Reagan World was full of black hats and white hats. Today few wear cowboy hats. A lot of large countries (and one particularly small country), “democracies” in name, are paying close attention to these events. This loss of approval by the many of a government by the entitled is making them think. Or is it the possibility that equality produces governance by those not qualified to govern?

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