The Role of Anti-Democratic Organizations in Democracy: The Paradox of DemocracyJune 28, 2021
In our last words under the title of ‘The Dictatorship of the Majority and the Problem of Justice in Representation’ in the previous title, we drew attention to a dilemma faced in societies governed by democracy.
It is probably not an exaggeration to say that both options pose serious problems to democratic governments. What is generally described as a paradox is the attitude of governments that came to power with democracy to limit rights and freedoms. In fact, the paradox of democracy is nothing but the criticism that such an attitude contradicts the rights and freedoms that democracy is claimed to provide as a legal system to the maximum extent.
Paradox, or contradiction, is an Ancient Greek term used to suggest that something can be and cannot be at the same time. Democracy Paradox, on the other hand, is the defense of the argument that when democratic governments enact measures restricting freedoms in order to protect democracy, they violate the broad rights and freedoms promised by democracy and an attitude contradictory to the essence of democracy emerges.
If we look at the other side of the coin, do democratic governments have the right to endanger the future of the society that elects them in terms of rights and freedoms, in order to remain true to the essence of democracy? For example, when a group of people, based on a solid ideological basis and aiming to restructure the society according to totalitarian principles, establish a party, such a political party will use all the tools of democracy to come to power, promise to abolish democracy and/or disrupt the peace and tranquility in the society in order to achieve what they want. To what extent is it compatible with democracy to allow them to take action? In other words, as long as it does not aim to intimidate, silence or destroy the political rivals or the elected opposition to the current elected government and other layers of society whose preferences have not been reflected in the parliament, as long as they do not aim to protect democracy as a form of administration and law-making, as long as it does not have purposes incompatible with the essence of democracy. Are the legal measures they take compatible with the essence of democracy? If this question is to be answered positively, a satisfactory answer must be given to the question of what awaits the people when the individual election opportunities provided by democracy disappear.
Those who defend the right and necessity of democratic governments to take restrictive measures for the sake of the sustainability of democracy, argue that the paradox of democracy is only an apparent paradox and point to some possible ethical drawbacks in the event that democracy is destroyed. The main of these drawbacks are the disappearance of freedom and responsibility. In his work named The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, although he did not make a direct defense of democracy, about his expectations from the social contract and the meaning(s) he attributed to the concept of ‘General Will’, his attitude towards such a management problem, which is expressed as the paradox of democracy. gives a clue. According to Rousseau, the basic features of the structure that emerged after the social contract are as follows: 1. Everyone has transferred all of his individual freedom and rights to a community where conditions are equal for everyone and no one can change these conditions on behalf of others (Rousseau 1968, p. 60); 2. Rights are equal for all and are never determined by the will of the individual; because such a situation renders the unity/integrity emerging with the social contract meaningless (ibid., pp. 60-61); 3. Everyone -in terms of freedom and rights-apparently makes up for what he has lost, that is, he gets more than he sacrificed (ibid., p. 61); 4. Thus, each individual gives his person and all of his powers to the community, in accordance with the ‘general will’; In this new whole formed by the community, all members of the community are subject to the same/equal behavior as an inseparable part of the whole (ibid.). It is therefore inevitable to ask what the general will is. According to Rousseau, the general will is “…the exercise of sovereignty, which could not have been otherwise, since it is inherently oriented towards equality” (ibid., p. 69). The views of Rousseau, which we have considered so far, seem to be sufficient to arrive at such an interpretation: Every individual who attempts to organize an organization that will overthrow the political and legal system in which he lives – especially this system, where the community lives in peace and no one violates the rights of each other, the freedom drawn for them. if it has created a union in which it does not exceed its limits and where the rights and freedoms are kept equal and at the maximum extent for each individual of the society – it can be punished by the ruler/administrative power, who is obliged to implement the laws that owe its existence to the general will; because every individual who tries to destroy a system where people live in peace in line with their own selfish wishes and/or interests is actually acting against the general will and should be forced to comply with this will by the majority.
According to Rousseau, the ‘General Will’ and ‘The Will of All’