Saturday, January 15, 2011

Parental Model of Democracy

The parental model of democracy

A democratic government is expected to represent the sum total of the wisdom of its people, like the wisdom of parents at homes. Parents’ wisdom represents the wisdom of all its members.

Hence, such  government can play the true role of a wise parent over its people, overseeing the task of making the voice of every one in the family heard.

From the stand of point of this family model, the notion of difference or separation of the state from its people ends. During the reign of other forms of governments like that of a King or a foreign ruler, state was a distinct and separate coercive agent, alien to the interests of its people.  

When an enlightened parent try to raise his family to its fullest potential,  family being an extension of his own self,  he will try to find full expression of his own personality as well as that of  his  family members. It is the ultimate goal and meaning of his life.

Parental model of state could be an ideal lesson for any true Democracy to understand what a state’s role and its fullest scope could be. Rise and growth of his children is nothing but his own blossoming of life. He does not allow competition among his children, but will encourage each one to help the other for growth as one unit, the family.


It is not that parents, when they encourage the wards to be independent and free, and equip them to face the world themselves can be seen as patronizing ! State, when it knowingly and purposefully provide individual dignity to their citizens, it is not patronizing but equipping citizens to become fully developed, and responsible individuals. 

When state guarantee every one’s individual dignity in day to day country governance, the fear of one taking it away from the other ends. All aggression one previously had to show to protect one’s self-esteem from others now has lost its relevance and need. Every one’s neurotic frenzy in the country for grabbing a seat of power, (whether political, police, or civil-service power)an indirect attempt to get immunity from losing one’s self-esteem will gradually diminish. 

Sovereignty and power of the state gains some rational relevance only in this contest, by automatically protecting  and saving  each one’s  sovereignty and much needed freedom. Without state’s providing and protecting citizen’s sovereignty, it has  no right to claim its own sovereignty. Here authority becomes naturally creative, not coercive, like in a family.


This parental model of state is the natural model of all democratic governments. It is not late. The door is open even now to choose the right path.  Our leaders can call themselves ‘ELDERS’ as Plato had once envisaged. It can bring an end to the now repulsive term ’politician’, in a natural and slow transition.

The need to group together and raise slogans to have your say ends in such a model of democracy. No need to shut the mouth of the other to help your voice to be heard. No need to keep the other under subjugation to ensure your self-expression and freedom. You help the other with his self-expression and he will help you with yours! 

Here Democracy gains the depth and meaning of a ‘common wealth’, its becoming the sum total of every one’s unique abilities and creativity. Nature has endowed everyone with unique kind of individuality and keenly chosen attributes. The fabric would be incomplete when some one is  excluded. This ‘family model’ should be the conceptual principle and model for every true democracy. 

( This is a selected extract from our larger work ‘ what democracy was intended to be’. Write to us for the full work )

Posted by ‘conscience of the society’ a non-profit that stands for philosophic initiatives into causes of Reason, Fraternity and reinventing democracy.
(www.conscienceofthesociety.com)

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