Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Democracy has to make room for people whose views may be anti-democratic. But that is also its great strength

andy smith Says: June 9th, 2007 at 1:35 pm How do you allow freedom of expression without simultaneously making it possible for people to agitate to have their beliefs become the majority view? What good is a personal belief if it doesn’t have the potential to affect other people’s personal choices?
Our views result from a complex, life-long process that may begin with our parents and the school system, but continues with exposure to many other views in society. I don’t see how you can say to someone, you are allowed to believe whatever you want, but you are not allowed to influence others into having similar beliefs. That’s like saying, you are free to have whatever political beliefs you want, but you are forbidden to organize with other like-minded people to form a political party. Freedom of thought, in other words, is meaningless without freedom of action.
Wilber’s concept of a cultural center of gravity, from a democratic point of view, is not simply elitist, but leads to a paradox. If enough people who are (according to Wilber, or his integral followers) below the center of gravity organize and persuade others of their beliefs, they will no longer be below the center of gravity. They will become the new center. So how can you forbid people from doing something on the grounds that they are not where they would be if they were allowed to do it?
Yes, democracy is vulnerable in that it has to make room for people whose views may in fact be anti-democratic. But that is also its great strength. It can’t be limited to a particular view or concept or ideology, or even to a particular form of government, really. Remember, that while we may regard fundamentalists as trying to “actively prevent” certain beliefs “through retrogressive law”, they feel much the same way about those of us who believe in science. Our school system, still, is “biassed” towards science and against Creationism. I strongly believe in that bias, but I recognize that people who don’t do indeed see it as “actively preventing” them or their children from adopting certain beliefs.

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