Essay On Democracy As A Form Of Government

Essay On Democracy As A Form Of Government-8
Another difference between Dewey’s era and our own is that in 1931 we Bowling Alone that generations of Americans have stopped joining clubs, PTAs, and other civic organizations that once served as laboratories for democracy.

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America’s public sphere is broken because we communicate as propagandists and we don’t know the rules of productive discussion and debate.

Focusing on free speech or civility to solve these problems is, in fact, a red herring, a distraction from the real issues that need to be addressed.

But public deliberation requires neutral arbiters—referees—to regulate our public discourse.

We could be our own umpires, but we don’t know the rules.

Our current age of catastrophe is characterized by a fundamental breakdown of the nation’s public sphere—as evidenced by widespread distrust, political polarization, and frustration.

On October 25, 1931—during the previous age of catastrophe—philosopher John Dewey gave a radio lecture on the relationship between education and democracy. There are two important differences between then and now.

“Democracy will be a farce,” explained Dewey, “unless individuals are trained to think for themselves, to judge independently, to be critical, to be able to detect subtle propaganda and the motives which inspire it.” Does Dewey’s edict still apply? First, in the 1930s, government propaganda contributed to the age of catastrophe.

Today, we citizens are the propagandists behind the catastrophe.

Likes, favorites, and retweets reward us by pinging the dopamine receptors in our brains.

Apps withhold notifications to keep us cycling back for positive feedback, and algorithms reward and amplify only the most polarizing messages—so that we are constantly urged to voice our most outrageous takes on political events.

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