C: Hey, I have something to discuss with you. You have time?
H: Not much, but still go ahead
C: I was wondering whether average people really care about Democracy.
H: I hope so. Do you think otherwise?
C: Yes, I think people care least about their country being a democratic one or an authoritarian state. In fact I believe people have a liking towards authoritarian leaders
H: Yeah, I have heard this argument or even longing for a military rule in countries, where the states don’t function well or if corruption is rampant
C: I seriously doubt that those people who hold this view are in their right minds to think like this. Don’t they see that they too would be subjected to dictatorial rulings of the government/individual in power?
H: I presume that they think that they could escape , owing to their minimal contact with state, their wealth or to their connections. I have seen this remark mostly from upper middle class elites. They want their trains to run on time, but they don’t care about the suppression of freedom of speech /dissent
C: They have acquired all they could and now that they want to take refuge in some senseless concepts such as Religion/Nationalism. They are not concerned about the suffering of other people. They get worried only when their group is at the receiving end. If this is the case, then how could you expect that people consider others’ suffering while voting? I don’t see the point of democracy at all, when people vote purely on their selfish reasons.
H: WOW! That’s a jump. But don’t you think people who are dependent on the government far more than these elites do, have the right to vote out of their selfishness?
C: Yeah, I can understand that. They need government’s help to come up in this society. That makes sense to me, but elites’ logic I cannot fathom
H: Gotcha!, do you think people who are living a hand to mouth life (which is more than half the people in country such as ours) have the time to think about democracy? If an authoritarian leader could satisfy basic needs of these people and keep them where they are with little to no increase in their wealth , do you think these people would worry about living under an authoritarian leader?
C: Yes I have thought of it too. But having tasted democracy and their power to remove an elected representative, even if it’s only once every 5 years, I would like to think that these people wouldn’t allow an authoritarian leader to flourish. Don’t you think?
H : I don’t. But let me sum it up – you say that these people would save democracy not for protecting freedom of speech, right to dissent, rule of law & myriad other things that make a democracy, but simply because they think they have the power to remove an elected representative and for their selfish reasons.
C: I hope so, I might be wrong in my arm chair assessment. But I am beginning to worry about it more and more. Even the very people who would be dependent on a democratic government until they come to a better position, would turn their backs and embrace authoritarianism in a heartbeat. On top of it there are these elites. They care least about the sufferings of their immediate others (take the case of migrants, who might have worked for these elites, walking 1000s of kilometers due to a stringent lock down) but worry about some soldier standing in cold on a mountain top. This solider, I believe, if given a chance to pursue good education & if provided the right opportunity wouldn’t have gone there in first place. No one would question the government’s failure to provide good opportunities to the larger society, but would blindly follow the government & fall for their propaganda. Worst of all, they disregard those the government characterizes as “others”
H: What do you think would awaken these people from their deep ignorant slumber?
C: I guess it’s the role of activists, civil societies, individual family members & a reliable media that could enlighten these people.
H: Let’s assume, we get the above mentioned to enlighten these people. Do you think people would change?
C: I highly doubt that would help. People have their preconceived notions, which they might have gotten from their own bubbles, and they would be hardly swayed by ration and logic
H : Gimme a break, what do you think would change then the people’s minds?
C: A natural disaster, a global war or worst an alien invasion. Where people have to depend on one another to overcome the dire situation
H : lol!! Do you think that’s possible? Given the highly individualized, fake news believing, irrational society that we live in.
C: I don’t think so.
H: So, going by your logic people cannot be changed, they vote for their selfish reasons, and country is doomed
C: In short, Yes!
H : Great way to end this conversation. Take a chill pill you absurdist!!!