Letter to The Editor - The West's uncertainty and depleted confidence in democracy suggest that the effort should be made

To The Australian         Nadia Schadlow quotes Thomas Mann ("Come the hour, come the Mann", 15/1) as having believed that "democratic nations were at risk of separating their lofty ideals from inescapable realities", by which he presumably meant the self-interested machinations of the powerful and ruthless. She should have added to the demons of fascism and communism the current ongoing tyranny of the super-rich. She is right, of course, to champion the dignity of man, the open society and political freedom for the individual; but where both she and Mann may be in error is in their conviction that democracy is the best form of political order. "Rule of the people" is not so very attractive when you look at the behaviour of lots and lots of people! Perhaps aristocracy ("rule of the best") is superior, but how to transition to it in an age of globalisation, digital infrastructure, excessive surveillance and loss of autonomy is a question not easy to answer. However, the West's uncertainty and depleted confidence in democracy suggest that the effort should be made.
  Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic
    

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Monday, 27 January 2020
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