One of the fears of Alexis de Tocqueville was the diminishing of the democratic society. While the formal foundations of democracy stand strong, the society that holds it alive simply vanishes. Exactly this is one of the major problems of our time.

Democracy is not only about having a just constitution and an elected government. The heart of a democracy beats within the democratic society. She survives because people care about participating, through the electoral process, but also by being a part of society. As soon as citizens stop caring, the brittle construct that democracy is will break down.

From Citizens to Consumers
De Tocqueville imagined that citizens would become consumers of the government. This means that citizens become reliant on government to solve their problems, without interfering with their daily lives. The consuming citizens their taxes and expect governmental services in return.

However, when citizens become consumers, the government tends to become bureaucratic and technocratic. Additionally, every task citizens stop performing, government takes it on. In other words, government continuously becomes larger and citizens care less by the day.

Career Before Democracy?
When it comes to taking part in the democratic society, especially higher educated citizens tend to hide away in their careers and family life. Over time, work has become such an important part of life that there is hardly any time left for society.

Of course, people have to work to make a living. Nevertheless, if the satisfaction of individual interests oppress the interests of society as a whole, it becomes hard to sustain a democratic environment. In the end, a balance is needed between career, family and society.

Participate Today!
In the end, what we need most these days is people participating in democracy. For example, the amount people that is member of a political party in the Netherlands is staggeringly low. We need to start joining the democratic society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *