Democracy and Values

 

By Mick Spillane

 

If our society is to be democratic, which it is, our political system must acknowledge the existence of insuperable divergences over values. Accordingly, it cannot accept that societies can be organized around two essential principles—categorically, rationality and cultural specificity. The United States has long been accustomed to the idea that the existence of impervious social conflicts makes democracy necessary. Therefore, if plurality of interests could be resolved in such a way as to allow the separations of labor and interests to be managed rationally, there would undeniably be no need for democracy. Democracy, therefore, becomes necessary because economic development demands both the engagement of investment and the distribution of the economic product, and no technical rule can resolve these requirements. They become contradictory, as well as complementary. Then, only a political decision can decide the comparative weight that is to be accorded these two factors of economic development. However, democracy is a recognition of a political process and of its accessibility in its exposure to the public.

 

We must recognize that the globalization of the economy and culture requires cultural pluralism—a homogenous society is antidemocratic. Social and cultural aspects are an everyday fact of our society, as are policies designed to defend cultural provisions. Freedom in the twenty-first century is based on the social and cultural diversity of our society. But democracy is by no means an aegis to diversity—it does, however, permit heterogeneous individuals to live together and function as a society.

 

Democracy is necessary because it is difficult to merge this arrangement of unifying and diversifying factors. Whenever conflicts exist over the interests and values, a space must be structured for political debates and deliberations.



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