Is People’s Rule the Summum Bonum?


In the beginning was the word, and the word was God, and then God stepped in and made another word and He called it Democracy, which meant the rule of people who had the right to elect the governing authority of the land they inhabited. God also had a plan to make democracy the ultimate good He had ever bestowed on His people, with the intention of giving priority to the highest human values and fundamental moral principles. This was presumed by the Creator to be conducive to the best possible quality of life. What has happened in reality? To the worst expectations of the Lord, Man has corrupted His divine blueprint so much that the presumed ‘rule of people’ became utterly distorted to the ugliest detriment of the electing part of a human society and to the flagrant benefit of its ruling part. Consequently, the world has entered a red-hot discussion on the subject of democracy, trying to define whether it is the highest good or the lowest bad, making the question as straight as that.

What was beyond any doubt three or four decades ago, has today become sharply questionable. The earlier standardized values, based on Judeo-Christian philosophy and Greco-Roman political culture, are being widely revisited; the attitudes are changing from generation to generation, doubting every single issue of life with a regular periodicity of 15-20 years; the relevancy of conventional education has to be totally revitalized (think of the discrepancy between education and the job market); the impotence of international law is growing even more obvious than ever before; the traditional democratic electoral system is ubiquitously losing reputation (suffice it to mention the current American paradigm); peoples of the world are persistently asking for more optimal ways of ruling their countries and distributing the wealth (go online and dig into public thoughts and comments). In fact, the world is turning into a gigantic bold-type question mark, hanging over Mankind like the sword of Damocles.

One of those pending questions will hopefully be answered on the upcoming December 14, when the American electors are poised to cast their concluding votes in the capacity of the famous Electoral College members (God forbid they deserve the epithet of infamous instead!). As a result, the world will either celebrate the existential necessity of democracy all over the globe, or pull the plug on the once attractive legacy of this purely western governing instrument.

We certainly love America, and appreciate the story of its democratic development, but we should probably take care of our own skin first, meaning that in pursuit of democratic solutions of our burning issues we very often bungle things up, not clearly telling right from wrong. Take our long-standing tendency of solving our socio-political problems in the open air instead of doing meaningful politics within the indoor space where hearing is better and mutual understanding has a stronger chance. We could continue sitting in the armchair of a student of democracy, but not forever. Someday, we will have to take a test, and preferably not fail it.

Incidentally, I read in one of the issues of the ‘Harvard Magazine’: “A vibrant democracy depends upon important foundations: adequate socioeconomic conditions, elite commitment, some consensus within the society itself about national identity, and adequate institutional conditions”. Wow, I should have read it earlier! Who knows, we might be disgruntled with the style and quality of our democratic development because it is not very vibrant at the moment. Another reason could be the absence of relevant social and economic conditions in the country. It might also be the lukewarm elite that is in our way of giving a strong impetus to vivacious democracy. We could also blame it on the never-achieved-consensus in Georgia about our national identity. And the problem with the functionality of political institutions might well be spoiling the broth.

At the end of the day, we definitely have to go deeper into responding to the question: is our type of people’s rule in the category of the Summum Bonum or not? Sounds like we are not yet on top of it.

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

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10 December 2020 19:54