10. Technocracy (rule by the elites) is better than democracy (which is but “mob rule,” the tyranny of the masses).
The notion of the philosopher king introduced by Plato is perhaps the most famous expression of this thesis, it is possible without much effort to track the progeny of this school of thought from the Greeks through Middle Ages into the Enlightenment onto current thinking around behavioral economics. The primary thrust of this has been to refute this old view, and to assert that the reverse is true, but that to achieve such a community-centered, rather than government-centric expression of power, we must more deeply understand community and democracy and how the two are intertwined, seeing them not as static nouns but putting them in context with action verbs.
Communities are the nurseries within which as ‘babes in arms’ right into adulthood we learn how to be citizens and grow democracy. So while it is true to say, it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes an aggregation of villages to create a democracy. We must therefore move beyond talking about what ‘community’ means, to “doing” community together in meaningful ways, and while doing so, come to self-consciously understand that those collective actions are a central part of the work that citizens do in a democracy, for a democracy. That work calls us to engage collectively, conversation by conversation, neighbour to neighbour, place to place, and then aggregate and proliferate the inventiveness and care that emerges, moving towards mass localism and deeper democracy as we go.
10 Deficit-based Assumptions that must be debunked