Responsible for Truth

Democracy may be flailing. But as we remain citizens in a democratic republic, we have a duty to keep ourselves informed. This is a requirement of self-government, a concept of democracy that is often lost.

As the term suggests, self-government means that we are not subjects of an external sovereign. In feudal societies, individuals had no rights. Whatever ‘right’ they could extract from the state is but a grant from the feudal lord. Patronage on both sides was the norm. Liberalism, expressed most clearly as accessing the right to suffrage, ultimately proved disruptive to feudalism as the power to rule shifted away from individuals and elites towards the common folk.

Power comes with a certain responsibility however. Paramount to this is the ability to wield it effectively, and this requires a certain rootedness in reality. The vulnerability of certain individuals and groups to fake news, alternative facts, and false truths suggest therefore that they have no interest in ruling themselves but to be ruled. Government to them is politics, a never ending contest over who makes the rules without ever really understanding the game or playing it themselves.

Unless citizens once again become serious about facts, critical of their leaders, and unyielding to any form manufactured truth, self-government will be impossible. People will continue to sound the death knell of democracy, and this will be realized via a self-fulfilling prophecy.


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