The model of democracy that the West seeks to impose on the other countries of the globe has reached its limits: it has grown old and decrepit, and has outdated its creative potential. It indicates the beginning of the end of the period in which it has originated and functioned. Thus, there is a need of restoration of democracy values, its nature, and purpose, place and role in today’s rapidly changing world. It raises numerous questions. For example, whether democracy can effectively respond to the challenges of the new historical realities or if it has become oversaturated. It results in the following tendency. The widespread and chaotic implementation of libertarian human rights and freedoms is both the unprecedented increase in internal threats to national security sources and the weakening of state capacity to ensure the conservation of more or less successful democratic values, principles and institutions that have operated before. There is a tendency of a certain regularity that can be traced these days. The collapse of tough government is fraught with anarchy and chaos, preached and supported under the slogans of democracy and freedom. Conversely, wide and unbridled democracy protected under the slogans of human rights and freedoms results in the establishment of a rigid authoritarian power. Thus, the essay is aimed at the discussion of the paradox of democratic exuberance. The debates of different forms of government presented in the paper would help to find the most grounded reasons allowing explaining the essence of the paradox and its effect to the today’s world society.


The Discussion of the Paradox of Democratic Exuberance

There have been situations in the history of humanity where the most tyrannical power was better than anarchy and chaos, violence, or war generated by it. The events of recent years in many regions of the world have indicated that the increase in the democratic power results in the need for the society to restore the rejected or the creation of new taboos and principles of the ‘golden rule.’ Particularly, the wide borders of wrongly understood freedom, that ultimately undermines the foundations of democracy, create the need for a legitimate restriction of libertarian interpreted freedom. The way out of the situation is the neutralization of the immoderate democratic exuberance. Moreover, democratic exuberance puts democracy at a risk.

The understanding of the following factors helps to realize the reasons the society has required for the democracy. The first one is the freedom from tyranny, which is the creation of obstacles to the coming to power of cruel and immoral dictators. The second one is the respect for fundamental rights and freedoms that are a guarantee of fundamental rights and freedoms to citizens. A non-democratic system does not and cannot provide such opportunities to the society. The third requirement is the freedom of an individual. This concept includes the provision of citizens with a wider range of freedom that any other political system cannot offer. The fourth one  is the identity formation, giving the individual the maximum possible freedom for self-determination, and providing him with a chance to live in accordance with the laws that a person chooses for oneself. The fifth requirement is the moral autonomy, which is the maximum opportunity for the manifestation of moral responsibility. The sixth one is the possibility of development of the individual, particularly to an extent than any other form of social organization. The seventh requirement is the protection of the fundamental interests of the individual. The eighth one is the political equality that is the ability to provide a relatively high level of political equality. The ninth one is the pursuit of peace that is the rejection of the war with each other. The final requirement is the prosperity. A country with a democratic government has a greater tendency to prosperity comparing to non-democratic countries (Almond and Verba).

Democracy has been in the process of transformation these days. The essence of today’s transformation is the gap between the ideal and real democracies. The gap consists of  the unfulfilled promises that contain the preservation of invisible power behind the scenes, the existence of oligarchies, the suppression of intermediate social groups, the revenge of the representatives of interests, a low degree of civilization, etc.

The modern democracy has become distorted and can be reviewed from the standpoint of a political, ideological and moral distortions. The essence of the political distortion is the presence of the political marketplace, which legitimates dishonest political game. The ideological distortions are the wrong interpretations of the democracy principles  that can lead to the ideological conclusions dangerous to democracy in the case they are applied in practice. The moral distortion includes all abuse of the freedom that is facilitated by the warranty of civil liberties, separation of public and private spheres and the principle of legality of all political opinions and tastes (Kurlantzick).

A modern democratic society is polycentric since there is not one center of the authority but many of them. The predominance of the representation of the interests over the political one, known as neo-corporatism, has been established in the most Western democracies. The essence of the neo-corporatism lies in the fact that the government acts as the intermediary between the social parties entering into contracts with each other. The neo-corporatism is a form of resolving social conflicts, using the procedure of reaching an agreement between the major organizations, which has nothing to do with the political representation.

The surplus of the participation has created a phenomenon that results in the exuberance of politics and the growth of electoral apathy. The political apathy that covers a large part of the population leads to a crisis of citizenship in consolidated democracies (Merkel). There is a tendency to the predominance of such a vote that results in the exchange of the political support for the provision of personal wealth in the modern political regimes.

Traditional European nationalism tried to formulate the objective features of the life of nations, which would allow any community of people to make a rational judgment about their rights to self-determination. These characteristics include language, common roots, the historical tradition of statehood, or something corresponding to it. All of this should have been supposed to be able to provide the foundation for a rational basis for the future democratic structure at least. Thus, a universal objective criterion should have been found  determining the principles of a fair distribution of territory between the people. These criteria should have provided unambiguous standards of justice to answer all the questions of the issue in case of any doubts about the legality of the membership of certain groups of citizens to this nation (Mann). However, such objective and general criteria are unattainable in the real life. The development of nations from the previous ethnic communities has always been accompanied by historical cataclysms and conscious efforts of politicians. The world simply does not have national boundaries given by God or predefined by natural development.

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Although the latter judgment undermines the claims of nationalism to the universal rational approach, it does not change anything in the function of nationalism as the concentration of democratic political communities that are reviewed as self-determining. The criteria by which nations are distinguished from each other cannot be universal. However, the political unity required for democracy cannot be achieved without people who have defined themselves as a nation.

A not entirely rational character of nationalist principles can shake the foundations of democracy and lead to bloodshed. There can be conflicts arising in the case of the absence of universal criteria of belonging to the nation, the resolution of which is not always possible on the basis of the rational decisions. It is hard to find any nation that would have had territorial disputes with its neighbors. War is a typical means of resolving such conflicts. Many nations are forced to consider ethnic minorities as potential traitors who perceive the larger ethnic communities as potential oppressors in turn. There are different ways to resolve these problems. These are a radical way, such as genocide or expulsion, the assimilation as a weighted decision, and various schemes of municipal and regional autonomy within a federal state as a compromise solution (Kurlantzick). It is rare that a solution is achieved without pain and violence, which explains the desire of supporters of the modern democracy models deliberately avoid nationalistic approaches. However, the desired and the actual are not the same things.

Attempts to reflect the reality and the essence of nationalism often stem from a reluctance to accept the fact that the democratic model representing the pinnacle of the rational development is based on an irrational foundation. It is particularly evident in the early stages of the formation of a democratic model that the irrationality of political definitions is a pre-stage of the rational political behavior.

Modern democracies as well as modern nations, are an artificial construct. Democracies originated at an earlier stage were directly linked to classical city-states. It was a personal democracy, particularly a model operated on a small territory where the citizens knew each other and communicated directly with each other. Modern democratic models went far beyond the boundaries. It makes people develop a sense of community, not based on their personal feelings, but rather the assessments and the beliefs. Most of the people consider modern nations and democracy to be too great  to do without thinking of the properties (Rodrik).

The paradox of democracy is based on the possibility of the existence of a modern democracy. The creation of the French nation is a good example illustrating the paradox. Thus, the integration was the result of the planned centralized and sometimes even tough policies of the government. It resulted in the transformation of peasants into urban citizens. Therefore, the developed French nation can be considered more artificial rather than the natural one. Democracy, being primarily an urban phenomenon, should have spread across the country. It could only be achieved by conscious policy measures taken by either a centralized state bureaucracy or the cultural elite, or other bodies. In fact, the transformation of peasants into Frenchmen and citizens was a single process (Hobsbawm). Peasants could have been turned into Frenchmen only by turning them into citizens, and vice versa.

Regarding the paradox of the democratic exuberance, it is considered the main problem of the democracy these days. People make certain conclusion without bothering to study the subject of the evaluation in the first place. For example, there are irrational economic fears in many countries. The anti-market prejudices can manifest themselves in the following way. People react very nervously to the lack of light or an increase in motor fuel prices in case of an event that leads to a reduction or cessation of supplies. However, this scenario should be worth to expect.

On the other hand, the residents of the third-world countries prefer to immigrate to the developed countries. However, local elections are not always supported by the politicians who are trying to instill the practices gained from the advanced countries in the local area. It is a choice of the citizens to make that happen. The citizen refuses from the sense of national pride, which is the psychological pride when moving to another country and choosing a higher standard of living, which is the material benefit. Such a person acquires the psychological benefit but refuses the material one when deciding to stay in the place of origin. People want to believe in the same thing as other people believe. It is very difficult to determine the date and reasons for the creation of such views in the first place. However, these attitudes have a direct impact on the outcome of any election (Fallis). 

Educated people go to the polls rarer than the poorly educated ones. The result is the emergence of untrained people in power and unreasonable decision-making. In this case, it would have led to catastrophic consequences for any country in case the politics really fulfilled all of their constituents’ wishes. As a result, the politicians have to balance all the time. Almost all politicians are forced to take popular but quite ridiculous decisions to please the supporters. Otherwise, they would soon cease to be politicians. The economists have traditionally relied on the rationality of the voters and the authorities. However, rationalism is always more or less mixed with absurd.


The modern democracy considers the individual as a citizen, entitled to the universal suffrage. The further development of the democratic process is not so much in the transition from a perspective democracy to a direct one but the transition from the political to the social democracy. Thus, the development of the democracy in the country shows no increase in the number of the politicians entitled to participate in decisions but the increase of the political space within which this right may be exercised. The democratic exuberance is the major issue of the democracy today. The democratic exuberance is a great threat to freedom. The process of democratization can lead to the undivided domination of public opinion and the various interest groups. The idea of democracy has become the absurd these days. It demonstrates that many important decisions have been taken by means of the methods of direct democracy. It has led to the decrease in the effectiveness of the democratic system and even its discredit. This is the reason for the use of the paradox of democratic exuberance, which is also called irrational exuberance.

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