20 June, 2021

Counted, Not Weighed

One wishes our political class reads this elegant if dense monograph.

Counted, Not Weighed
In order to love democracy well you have to love it moderately." This is no anti-democratic thought, it is a plea that if we are passionately convinced about it, we need to be more aware about the political choices we make and not use appeals to democracy as an excuse not to think.

The claim that we are citizens, not subjects, that the exercise of state power receives popular authorisation through elections or public discussion, are half-truths. Our great discontent is that we are far from producing modes of governance we could freely accept. Not because we are a large, diverse, poor and illiterate society. Nor even because democratisation is inherently unsettling, producing in its politicisation of all social relations radical uncertainty about authority and identity. Rather, as Pratap Bhanu Mehta argues, the combination of persistent social inequality and a mistaken view of the state’s proper function and organisation debilitate the functioning of our modern democracy.

Mehta focuses on the psychic costs of inequality, a diminishing of the sense of self, for the...

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