We have to safeguard our democratic principles

By Yiannis Mastropetrou

Democracy, as a process, presupposes the assembly of certain people in a certain place where a common truth is expressed through voting. This common truth, though, is not just a personal predefined opinion but the outcome of a certain process according to which all individuals have the chance to discuss their reasoning and defend their positions. In a case where, for practical reasons, it is quite difficult to have all people present, we get to the representative democracy system where elections safeguard people’s ideologies / positions representation in the voting process.

Technology advent and mass adoption provides the opportunity to expand the democratic process in virtual environments thus facilitating the direct exchange of ideas and positions in a fast and impromptu way. But does this mean that representative democracy loses its legitimacy?

As before mentioned in order to safeguard the truthfulness of the decision it is important that participants represent society’s ideas and opinions. Election is the process to achieve this. But do impromptu discussions protect this process? Just because technology provides the capability of remote discussion groups through social media, does this mean we have a democratic process?

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