Is there a strong democratic culture in America, when there’s no genuine debate about the harmful impacts of nuclear energy, when the President announces the build-up of new nuclear power plants, whereas Europe wants to shut them off?
Would it be a genuine debate, when you have the internal bias to have them shut off, which implies that European debate and Americans don’t, because they don’t believe in the efficiency of nuclear power, regardless of its threat level or real efficiency?
Any political debate requires the understanding of the issues at hand, what benefits and risks they create and should we through reasoning figure that nuclear energy can be made safe, there is every reason for the nation as a whole to pursue further nuclear energy. Two practical considerations make the opponents’ arguments more favorable. First, the security of nuclear reactiors can not be secured as natural catastrophes, human failure and a lack of enforced standards undermine such security, as in Japan or Russia. Second, the storage of nuclear waste is not secure. Underground storage, which is fairly popular, contaminates the water and food supply. The corrosion of the walls of storage facilities over time may naturally contaminate the surrounding area.
Regardless of such argument, have you considered the possibility that if you had been in favor of nuclear energy that you would have demanded a democratic debate just as vocally as when you opose nuclear energy?
Democratic debate is necessary under many circumstances. But it would be truthful to state that I would not have demanded much debate would I be in support of nuclear energy. But if I had been found in fallacy he democratic culture through its ability to reason would have been able to transcend the fallacy of a few individual men like me. The forces of reason could decide in the best interest of the society and regardless of my efforts I would have ended up in failure to get my goals across.
The requirement of such assumption to be truthful is that the citizenry in a democratic society will always act in reason. Is it capable of acting reasonably, since the forces of multitude necessitate the focus on the merits of one side of the argument, whereas the merits of the opposite argument need to be neglected?
If there is a reasonable assumption for the merits of the two sides of the argument, the populace will by the force of necessity decide upon the one argument that has quantifiably the most merits, whereas the other argument has to be factored in for the greater risks and hazards and such comparative disadvantage- the two practical considerations on nuclear energy I raised, makes one side of the argument more favorable than the other, and democratic majority will likely produce such favorable results whatever they may be.
The argument of the majority- which you seem to imply- is the ultimate determinative factor for the prudent decision-making in a democratic culture. However, how can you account for the minority opinion, which cites its own research data and has every reason to believe that its argument follows along the lines of prudence and careful consideration?
The model from which I argue strongly suggests that with enough reasonable minds the best interest of the nation can be pursued, but in any system we see the danger of overbearing oppression, whether it be the small minority elites on the majpority common populace (very common) or the vast majority on some minorities usually along ethnic, racial or cultural lines. A democracy, according to Plato, could result in destructive mob rule, in which the majority ruthlessly harms the minority to keep the majority in temporary happiness. But the very definition of mob rule would undermine the concept of an enlightened democracy, which expects of individuals to participate in democratic society with reasonable arguments intending to come to reasonable decisions, which an enlightened minority would not conceive of as substantially harmful to its well-being and existence.
The pre-condition you set up in your political system is that an enlightened citizenry stand in its midst. But the unlikeliness of such reality to occur poses the eternal question of whether the current poltical reality- the unpreparedness of people to engage in politically active terms and the usage of reason in every major policy matter- would permit a democracy to be instituted in the first place, which- in order to return to your initial sentiment about the inexistent democratic culture in America- does not exist and thereby should not reign.
The unpreparedness of the people shall not obscure the legitimacy of opening up the sphere to the people. The magnitude of the problems that plaque all people should invite- if possible- all people to engage in reasonable debate. Yet, as is the case almost always in the absence of such universal engagement, elected officials or representatives are responsible for the conduct of political affairs, which should ultimately benefit the masses.
The change of frame from a direct democratic approach to a representative democratic approach throws up a new round of questions. You have implied a direct democratic approach with your initial question, but now switch over to the practical wisdom that a representative democracy entails. Can’t we say that the current deliberations on the wisdom of nuclear enrgy are already relegated to our elected officials in Congress, and thereby have this living democracy you had originally asked for?
I see no trouble in having a representative democracy to exist alongside a direct democracy that includes people, who do pay attention to current policies. Unfortunately, not all of them are equipped with the same capacity of wisdom. The lack of democratic culture should not only be directed at the people themselves, as I see the democratic experience primary as a novel one historically. Those people sometimes intentionally, sometimes not are the way they are in relation to the scope and quality of their poltical engagement, but also at the elites, who don’t follow the path of reasonable argument to respond to critical issues like nuclear energy in the way that it represents the interest of the people. Among the elites there is no inherent lack of democracy, but the extent to which they give merit to represent democracy is severely undermined by the current officeholders, who are so beholden to the interests of the business community that larger ecological, economic and social factors are ignored and unduly sacrificed for the unyielding profit motive, which- when going unchecked- corrodes democracy.