Across the pond, we have our own problems with Donald Trump. He runs a campaign completely devoid of facts, based on xenophobia, racism, misogyny and is getting away with it. Many think he doesn’t stand a chance of winning, but today’s result only reinforces my belief that he’ll come close if not outright win. Well reasoned and educated individuals underestimate how much ignorance is out there and how tempting racism and xenophobia is as an alternative to complex reasoning.
Representative democracy, as we know it today is a child of the age of reason. The founding fathers created a system that empowers the people (excluding non-white, non-male, non-elites), but they did so with the expectation that those people would engage in reasoned discourse and disagreement. There was an expectation that using factual knowledge in civic participation was to be the norm. Without this assumption, the system doesn’t work. The system and its policy processes do not generate the optimal outcomes that benefit everyone. This is where we find ourselves today, democracy without reason.