Essay on a post-modern despotism: demo-despotism

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To want democracy all at once and everywhere is a magical and ideological approach. The democratic injunction and prediction will fail. We live in a despotic period, with three kinds of new ‘enlightened tyrants’ despotismes éclairés : the one coming from the ‘hyperpower’ hyperpuissance, inspired by the Bible, Carl Schmitt and Nietzsche ; increasing theocracies ; and a soft one called demo-despotism that offers a democratic appearance against a despotic reality. Fair liberal laws and policies are imposed by agencies, elites and finance which reduce the old alliance Keynes-Beveridge-Ford, the elections’ impact and the political choices. Democracy would imply making them politically responsible to the citizens and the people’s representatives. The European Union gives a good example of this trend. It imposes a dogmatic economic way implying political passivity, weak growth and social regression. So it becomes unpopular among its old members in spite of many new almost democratic ways often produced and validated by televisions. Personal and collective expressions, forums, festivals, free individual behaviours, new rights and guarantees, public opinion polls or televised compassion communions are compensations for the lost political freedom. With less sophisticated and liberal forms this false democracy is also spreading in the South. – Summary AFRI-2004