Dr Milan Zver
WHAT SHOULD WE HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TOTALITARIAN EXPERIENCE?
Is the nowadays stagnation of democracy leading us to a new totalitarianism?
Europe Remembers for the Future
Berlin 29th-30th April 2010
This paper is based upon at least three suppositions: firstly, we can not understand the present and much less anticipate the future, if we ignore the past, secondly, the transition to democracy cannot be explained without considering the cultural contexts, and thirdly, we will not resolve the emergence of a new totalitarianism, if we do not take measures.
The world is overwhelmed by a general crisis. The financial and economic crises go hand in hand with the social and political crises. Before the structural crisis appears in the political field (when the institutions do not or can not operate), the germs occur in the sphere of culture, as a crisis of legitimacy, as a doubt about the viability of democratic institutions, resulting in a fall of their support. The whole process was already seen in the twenties and thirties of the 20. century. In a large part of the world it concluded with the 'murder' of democracy and the victory of totalitarianisms of the twentieth century.
Recently we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The American social thought guru Fukuyama experienced the fall very euphorically, as the end of the last totalitarianism, the victory of liberal democracy and even as the end of history. In fact, a new wave of democratic energy broke out and trashed communism into the dustbin of history. A new, democratic consciousness, a new culture has arisen; mass democratic movements and new political elites have developed.
But later the enthusiasm for democracy in the post-communist countries decreased a lot, despite the undeniable economic development. We need to ask ourselves some important questions: Why for example is the poll in these countries consistently lower than in stable democracies? Why is the public support for the main attributes of democracy such as parliaments and political parties constantly decreasing? Why the decomposing of the communist mentality and structures has been happening so slowly? Why does so much corruption appear these countries? Why do they face so much crime and sociopath phenomena? Why are the citizens passive, apathetic, anaemic?
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