民主主義の危機について On the Crisis of Democracy


When you read ILL WIND by Larry Diamond, the original name of the Japanese title Democracy Invaded, you can feel the passion for the author even though he is a scholar. "ILL WIND" refers to the rise of populism against the background of disparities and depression within the country, and in international relations, "hegemonic states" such as Russia and China. Democracy faces two kinds of challenges.

Democracy has universal requirements for civilization, "respect for human rights, freedom of speech, equality of all human beings, and the rule of law," as the Dalai Lama advocated in 1999. For example, if there is even one approach, as "do not respect human rights," "control speech," "there is a hierarchy among human beings," and "the law is not protected by circumstances," it would not be called a mature society. This is a universal sense of ethics, and everyone should be able to understand that it is necessary for human society, even if it leaves Western standards. Such universal laws overcome cultural differences.

The archetype of democracy is simple: if you want to do something collectively, you need to listen to everyone. It is also necessary that the burden and benefits are balanced. As an extension of this simple way of doing things, as the group grows larger, a democratic system is established in a certain formality. Minimal democracy refers to a system of government in which the people can regularly elect and "change" their leaders in free and fair elections. This regime change is an important point in protecting democracy. On the other hand, if there is no change of government, corruption will inevitably occur. This is why we need an opposition party.

Democracy has existed for a long time, but it has been challenged from various quarters many times over the years. As Thomas Hobbes advocates, when a group grows larger, a " the war of all against all " arises, giving birth to a "leviathan" (transcendent with absolute authority) to avoid the inevitable struggle. And when the "Leviathan" becomes powerful, it invades and subjugates the surrounding people. However, the people who have been placed under their capitulation eventually revolt and return to their democratic form. Humanity has been engaged in this struggle over and over again for a long time. In modern times, as envisioned by Hegel and other philosophers, the completion of a democratic form of government was approaching.

During this period, disparities arose between the rest of the world, where civilization flourished earlier, and Western-only democracies were sometimes attacked as highly deceptive. Certainly, since democracy advocates equality for "all" people, colonial rule and slavery are incompatible with democracy. However, on the other hand, it is not permissible to deviate from the conditions of democracy such as "respect for human rights, freedom of speech, equality of all human beings, and the rule of law" by respecting cultural differences. Religious customs naturally fall into this category. Civilization needs to preserve its own characteristics, but it is unjust for humanity to deviate from the conditions of democracy: respect for human rights, freedom of speech, equality of all human beings, and the rule of law.

Democracy continues to face challenges from home and abroad. There is a populist challenge in the wake of domestic disparity and social inequality. Specifically, it is a challenge from the far right and the far left. In recent years, there has been a lot of populism targeting foreign workers. It takes advantage of the "fear of different cultures" inherent in human beings and loudly advocates the exclusion of foreigners. Populism targets foreign workers, but on the contrary, it often implements a scattering economic policy within the country. It's about gaining short-term popular support. In response to such challenges, we need to protect democracy, eliminate discrimination at an early date, and advance policies that are open to foreigners.

On the other hand, it is also true that democracy is open to the public, making it easier for authoritative forces to take over. In other words, there is no regulation, but it depends on the common sense of the people who support it. Therefore, even if a democratic system is adopted for the time being, there is a danger that it will eventually be lost to authoritarian forces. In Egypt, which overthrew the dictatorship by the Arab Spring, the Islamic political organization "Muslim Brotherhood" that won the election advocated Islamic fundamentalism, inviting a coup d'état by the military again. In Thailand as well, the political party supporting former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has won every election, followed by a military coup d'état against it, a transition to civilian rule, an election, another victory for the Thaksin faction, and a coup d'état. These show that democratic elections do not always create favorable governments, and that democracy can easily be hijacked by hegemonism.

Challenges from outside the country are even tougher.

The figure shows the classification of a group led by Anna Rahman of the V-Dem Institute, an independent research institute in Sweden. The political system is broadly divided into four types: closed dictatorship, electoral dictatorship, electoral democracy, and liberal democracy. Among them, countries that belong to blue-colored, electoral democracy and liberal democracy are now becoming a minority.

In Japan, democracy is not something that is acquired at the expense of the people, but is something that has been given to us from the outside. Its foundation is not strong. It is necessary to reject challenges to democracy from inside and outside Japan and build a strong democracy. In order to do so, the opposition, the media, and the general public need to think again from the perspective of local democracy and create a mature society.

ラリー・ダイアモンド著「侵略される民主主義」原名「ILL WIND=悪い風」を読むと、著者が学者にも関わらず、熱い情熱が伝わってくる。「ILL WIND=悪い風」とは、国内部で格差や不況を背景として、ポピュリズムの台頭があること、また国際間においては、ロシアや中国を始めとする「覇権国家」の勢力が広がっていることを指している。民主主義は2種類の挑戦を受けているのだ。










公益財団法人橋本財団 理事長、医学博士橋本 俊明
1973年岡山大学医学部卒業。公益財団法人橋本財団 理事長。社会福祉法人敬友会 理事長。特定医療法人自由会 理事長。専門は、高齢者の住まい、高齢者ケア、老年医療問題など。その他、独自の視点で幅広く社会問題を探る。
1973年岡山大学医学部卒業。公益財団法人橋本財団 理事長。社会福祉法人敬友会 理事長。特定医療法人自由会 理事長。専門は、高齢者の住まい、高齢者ケア、老年医療問題など。その他、独自の視点で幅広く社会問題を探る。
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