Here is a thought I had:
There is something which I often jokingly call “Democratic vanguardism”. Basically, this amounts to trying to force things to happen so that they will go according to the theory of Democracy. In this way, it is actually a distortion of natural conditions.
I got this name from the Revolutionary Vanguardism of Communism which really amounts to something like a forcing of the population into a revolutionary stance by the “vanguard” which is a small group of people who would help the conversion to Communism.
THE DEMOCRATIC CONDITION
The democratic condition, as I use it here, refers to the idea that common people should take the place and role of traditional authority in government and society. I should point out that communism is a form of “democracy” as it is also trying to place the common people . . . the proletariat . . . in a position of power (see my article Thoughts on the similarity between democracy and socialism/communism). To me, democracy and communism are really the same thought but appearing differently. I often compare it to Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism . . . they’re different but they’re the same (both are a form of Christianity).
In both democracy and communism there is a form of vanguardism suggesting that vanguardism appears to be part of the democratic condition and its mentality.
FORCING IT TO HAPPEN
As I said above, the basic premise of the democratic condition is that every type of person (reflecting every age, sex, race, color, creed, sexual inclination, etc., etc., etc.) should be in a position of power in society. In this way, everyone is in a position of power. There is no single type of person in power. The mentality of the democratic condition seems to think that this will make a better society.
The basic premise of the democratic condition doesn’t just happen. It has to be forced to happen by the democratic vanguard. This consists of a number of things:
- The voluntary democratic vanguard – those who willingly practice the democratic condition
- The involuntary democratic vanguard – those who are forced to practice it, usually as a result of law
- The system of the democratic vanguard – this consists of the laws and system created by the democratic condition
The democratic vanguard does a number of things to force the democratic condition to take place:
- False glorification – unjustly making people better, and more influential, than they are
- Favoritism – favoring specific people, often making it easier for some people
- Exclusion – not allowing some people to participate, usually because they are the people in power or influence at the time
- Statistics – requiring a certain number of specific people in each area
- Laws and systems – implementing laws and systems that favor the democratic condition and even preventing any other condition from having control
- False images – in popular imagery, such as TV, they try to portray people in positions they are not in or are not doing (the most ridiculous, I think, is the portrayal of females as these tough warriors)
- “Forcing the interpretation” – this refers to twisting things around so that it fits the theory of the democratic condition (for example, the U.S. interprets all conflicts as a “fight for freedom against oppression” and the Communists interpret everything as a “fight of the proletariat against the imperialists” . . . both have even created an interpretation of history and sociology in such a light)
- Coaxing – they have to try to convince people to do things (a good example is trying to get people to vote . . . a continual problem in the U.S.)
- Threats and intimidation – in some cases, they have to intimidate and even threaten people to do things (many people, for example, are intimidated to vote)
- Self-righteousness and fanaticism – viewing that they are always right to the point that they won’t even look at any other point of view
- Destruction – destroying any condition that does not support the democratic condition
- Denial – denying alternate points of view and anything not reflecting the democratic condition
- Villainizing – making people who don’t favor the democratic condition look bad or evil
- “Show trials” – if there is a conflict then they turn the other person into a criminal by the use of the laws and systems that favor the democratic condition
These all create a condition that forces the democratic condition to take place.
This process can become violent and deadly at times. In fact, millions of people have died or have suffered because of this forcing things to happen in the past 230 or so years. One could venture to say that the forcing of the democratic condition has caused some of the worst tragedies and sufferings in history, from the French Revolution, to all the various “wars for independence”, to the attempts at converting countries to democracy or communism, and so on.
The process can also be so mild and can have the appearance of a “regulation”. This is normally how it appears. I sometimes speak of this as the “quiet vanguardism“.
THE IMPACT OF THE CHRISTIAN CONVERSION
In some respects, all this sounds like the Christian conversion, of a forced conversion of people and society to a specific belief and social system. In my opinion, the tendency of vanguardism is a continuation of the Christian Conversion process. It, really, is a Christian missionary attitude, of trying to convert people and society. The difference is that, in the 1700’s and 1800’s, this mentality was transferred from religion to politics/economy. Instead of forcing people to a religious belief system we are now forcing people to a political/economic system. The “democratic vanguard” have replaced the Christian missionaries, so to speak.
There have been times where this missionary attitude turned into an inquisition. It seems that it appeared differently in democracy and communism:
- In democracy the inquisition was directed to other people and countries
- In communism the inquisition was directed to their own people and society
Another effect of the Christian Conversion on the democratic condition is the tendency to self-righteousness, fanaticism, and being pig-headed. They think that they are “right” and that’s it . . . things must be forced to happen according to their theory of the democratic condition!
DEMOCRACY AS AN UNNATURAL CONDITION
This tendency to force things to happen shows that the condition of democracy – people in power – is not a natural condition in life. As a result, a democratic system has to be forced to take place creating a need for a vanguard. If it was a natural condition then they would not have to force things to happen. In this way, it shows that the democratic condition is not a “real and natural social system”. This is why I often say, “democracy is not a natural society”. I don’t know anywhere in the world where a democracy appeared, or was sustained, naturally.
My observation is that, without the vanguard to maintain the democratic condition, society tends to slowly transform into a society that does not reflect the democratic condition. It starts to develop qualities such as:
- It becomes hierarchical
- They will also often use of “representational assembly” to some extent and in some situations (this becomes the closest quality to the democratic condition)
- There is more reliance on “custom”, tradition, and established ways of doing things
- People trust in authority
- People start to accept and live in their “station” of life without complaint
In other words, it starts to turn into a society just like many in the world. I see this happen all the time in the U.S., but on a small scale.
IDEALISM VERSUS REALITY
I believe that all this shows that the democratic condition is based in idealism and not in real world reality. That is to say, democracy is an ideal of “how they’d like things to be” . . . its not how things really are. As a result, things must be forced to fit this ideal world image. In this sense, it gives the democratic condition a “fantasy land”, or “pie in the sky” quality. It causes a tendency to be disillusioned by the democratic condition because many people find that things “don’t work the way they are told it works”. This is a theme I’ve seen all my life in the U.S. People are always disillusioned about democracy. I’m often stunned how many people can’t quite define democracy exactly. They know what it means abstractly and idealistically . . . the people rule the government . . . but they don’t see how it actually works, nor do they feel that they have any influence or power, nor do they see the effects of a “people rule”. Many people seem like they are “left hanging” by democracy and they’re reaction is “huh, what?” Because of national pride, many people will not admit to that but some will.
A WEAKENING OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY???
It seems, to me, that vanguardism weakens the individual person and society overall. There are a number of forms of this such as:
- It places people in power and influence who really shouldn’t be there. As a result, things don’t work as effectively.
- It paints people in a false way making them appear something that they are not.
- It makes everyone “the same” and, in so doing, degrades the individual person.
- It fosters the prevalence of a “system” over people. In other words, it causes a more rigid system to be placed over society. In this way, vanguardism tends to degrade the person, and people, and actually removes them from power. In the place of people is placed a more rigid and inhuman system.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen