Last time around I talked about recent evidence that we don’t live in the sort of democratic society we like to think we do. This time I want to consider what to do when you wake up one crisp, bright morning and discover that you live in a society that is neither just nor a democracy in any meaningful sense of the word? First off, you need to calm down, have a coffee, and accept that this is nothing new. There is not now, nor has there ever (yet) been, a truly just or democratic society.
It's been a disturbing week for anyone who cares about the potential of democracy to have a positive impact on the world, who tries to believe that democratic ideals might one day dominate human interactions and rid the world of at least some of its shameful inequities and hideous stupidities. This week, three news items seem to triangulate, pointing toward an inescapable conclusion: that democracy doesn't, never has, and probably never will rule the world – or even any significant portion of it.