Defending Politics: Why Democracy Matters in the by Matthew Flinders

By Matthew Flinders

If the 20 th century witnessed the triumph of democracy then whatever seems to be to have long past heavily mistaken. voters worldwide became distrustful of politicians, sceptical approximately democratic associations, and dissatisfied concerning the capability of democratic politics to solve urgent social matters. This shift in worldwide attitudes has been explored in an unlimited physique of writing that examines the life of 'disaffected democrats' and 'democratic deficits'. protecting Politics meets this modern pessimism concerning the political technique head on. In doing so, it goals to domesticate a shift from the tasteless and fatalistic 'politics of pessimism' that looks to dominate public lifestyles in the direction of a extra buoyant and engaged 'politics of optimism'.
Matthew Flinders makes a hugely retro yet enormously very important argument of virtually primitive simplicity: democratic politics provides excess of such a lot individuals of the general public seem to recognize and comprehend. If increasingly more individuals are dissatisfied with what sleek democratic politics provides then is it attainable that the fault lies with those that call for an excessive amount of, fail to recognize the essence of democratic engagement and forget about the complexities of governing within the 20th century instead of with democratic politics itself? Is it attainable that the general public in lots of complicated liberal democracies became 'democratically decadent' within the experience that they take what democratic politics provides with no consideration? may politics be interpreted as failing rather less if all of us spent rather less time emphasising our person rights and a bit extra time reflecting on our tasks to society and destiny generations?
Democratic politics continues to be 'a nice and civilizing human activity... anything to be valued virtually as a pearl past fee within the heritage of the human condition', as Bernard Crick under pressure in his vintage In Defence of Politics fifty years in the past. however it is usually a much more fragile procedure of governing than many of us seem to notice. through returning to and updating Crick's arguments, this e-book presents a good account of why democratic politics issues and why we have to reject the arguments of these who could flip their backs on 'mere politics' in favour of extra authoritarian, populist or technocratic varieties of governing. In rejecting trendy fears concerning the 'end of politics' and bold to indicate that the general public, the media, strain teams, lecturers and politicians are all a part of the matter in addition to a part of the treatment, this ebook presents a clean, provocative, and certainly confident view of the achievements and destiny strength of democratic politics.

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In the twenty-first century no defence of politics could be complete without a frank and forceful account of the destructive role of the media (Chapter 6) and I make no apology for the force of my argument. Critics of my position will undoubtedly hide behind Enoch Powell’s famous jibe that ‘politicians who complain about the media are like sailors who complain about the sea’ but in doing so they defend possibly the most destructive and insidious force within modern politics. At the broadest macro-political level, however, this is a book about the management of public expectations.

What is interesting, however, is that increasing levels of accountability, transparency, openness, and freedom of information have not restored public confidence in politics but have instead led to the creation of what John Keane has termed a ‘monitory democracy’ in which a vast range of agencies, boards, and commissions monitor the behaviour of politicians and public servants due to a belief that they are simply not to be trusted. Although Keane welcomes monitory democracy for the manner in which it can ‘greatly complicate, and sometimes wrong-foot, the lives of politicians, parties, legislatures and governments’, my sense is that life for most politicians and public servants is already complicated enough.

Distance in the sense that arguing a gap has emerged between the governors and the governed veils the fact that, in many ways, the traditional distance between politicians and the public has all but disappeared. We now know more about our politicians, their interests, their families, and almost all aspects of their lives than we ever have in the past. One of the defining features of modern politics is that the idea of a politician enjoying a ‘private life’ appears almost laughable. The demands of 24/7 rolling news, combined with a sense of public entitlement to know everything about those they elect, conspire to ensure that political life is incredibly intense: too close, yet in many ways too distant.

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