Democracy on Trial, All Rise!

Democracy on Trial, All Rise!

Democracy on Trial, All Rise!

Democracy on Trial, All Rise!

Synopsis

The book challenges "Democracy" as the right political system in the developing world with a view to finding transient models that should work in reality, and not just in theory. At the same time, it provides pointers for strengthening democracy in the developed world.

Excerpt

There are many ways of arriving at the truth. The ancient Greeks, for instance, considered contemplation to be the supreme mechanism. They believed in “ideal” theories based on logic or intuition, and if evidence from real life experiments contradicted that, then new theoretical constructs were added to explain away the problem. For instance, a circle was supposed to represent a theoretical ideal and perfect symmetry, and hence it was necessary that the planetary orbits be perfect circles. When observation conflicted with this idea, new cosmic bodies were invented to account for the distortion; but the perfect theory was not challenged, as senses were believed to be deceptive and not the true means of understanding the world. Ptolemy had back then made a systematic study of astronomy and refraction; but he did not arrive at the right laws because he used complicated mathematical models to explain deviations from his a priori theories.

This trend continued in a more subtle form in the Middle Ages as students studied texts, the Church upheld dogmas, and scientific enquiry was equated with heresy or black magic. The Scientific Revolution changed all that beginning around AD 1500. But in politics we are still following the earlier approach—even though we are not aware of it.

We have made detailed observations and studies of different nations’ political and economic history but we view it all through the lens of a priori theories. That is the reason we are unable to explain why things don’t work . . .

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