Timo Juhani Vihavainen is a Finnish historian and a professor of Russian Studies at the University of Helsinki. He has written extensively on Russian and Finnish history. Wikipedia
NOTE: Translated from Mr.Vihavainen’s blogpost (in Finnish) by the Tundra Tabloids.
When democracy no longer suits
Democracy trying to be discredited again
In a democracy, the people empower decision-makers to fight for their preferred political agenda. There, the people’s elected representatives have to find out what will be achieved from the joint reconciliation of the citizens’ conflicting ambitions, when issues are resolved together.
Democracy is considered as a good system, that there are no single pre-decided opinions on matters, rather the sovereign people get the opportunity to genuinely seek their desired objectives. Democracy is a very functional system is, however, a difficult thing, and easily degenerates into demagogy, especially if the nation is very politically stirred and / or unenlightened.
Therefor, in the name of democracy a stupid people have always been easily hustled. In particular, the matter concerns the educated part of the population. We remember the so-called, People’s democracy, where only the so-called advanced opinions had been authorized. That’s different from a normal democracy, like a straitjacket differs from a normal shirt. But supporters are numerous.
The people’s sovereignty under which all power is basically delegated to representatives of the people, which are free to make decisions without being censored. So-called party discipline is an ugly stain on this principle, but because of people’s weaknesses, it is probably the lesser evil than a genuine free democracy, in which the result would still be voted over again and not a result from a variety of horse-trading in advance. That could be very unpredictable system.
But something sacred at the core of democracy is, after all, and it is a legal representative’s right to his political opinion. It is precisely on that basis the people have given him a voice. In practice, the greatest danger to representative government may be the fact that the People’s authorized representative does not dare to fight for the things that have been promised to the voters. The reason may be, say, ambient pressure or some advantages that could remain unachieved, if he doesn’t remain in line.
Such a situation can not be healthy. If the presentation of a political opinion by the People’s authorized representative is attempted to be prohibited or punished, we are already on really slippery road. That road leads to totalitarianism, in which only the outer shell of democracy is kept and in which the concept of freedom means only the freedom to agree.
Although an MP may express opposition to the principle of democracy, not even that would be a valid reason for not allowing his opinion. At one time we too had communists who openly sought the reversal of the social system. During the 1930s, their activities were banned, but it only led to the fact that a certain part of the population pushed aside from the whole system, which represented it only half-heartedly. Only the integration into the system made the whole political field functioning since the 1960s. It was the way to the nation’s recuperation and integration process. Solidarity is not born by building fences, but by gaining cooperation.
Perhaps the nation’s most divisive and key issue for the future, at this time, is probably the immigration policy. It would be unnatural, if in this case there wouldn’t be sharply differing opinions facing each other. In terms of the principles of democracy it would be a crime if they weren’t allowed, and in this context concerned, particularly the minority opinions. A majority is always in the power to suppress different voices. If it’s not a mentally mature democracy, it aims to use this power, in a honest, as well as in a dishonest means.
What’s disgusting, is if a democracy is cheapened by attacking the part of any nation’s political position dishonestly. Most will recall the so-called sleeve badge brouhaha, which swelled into a huge scandal of international proportions,reached by completely false pretenses.
The same thing with Olli Immonen’s posting is being tried again. If the People’s authorized representative tries in a bit pathetic tone to repeat the political dreams of victory in the struggle against multiculturalism, he has according to all reason, the unquestionable democratic right to do so. Anyone who claims otherwise, is attacking the core principles of democracy.
Because few people would shamefully say that they haven’t respect for the whole of democracy, if it guarantees the same rights to political opponents, the issue of “the right of the opposition” is masked.
Thusly they try to explain, that in the presentation of normal political opinion it’s suitable to demonize in some cases individuals and dishonestly lump them with one with another crazier machinations “preparation of treason”, ” dishonouring Marshal’s Testament”, “Breivik’s rhetoric” and other awful things. Fabula Rasa really has nothing to do with this story, as is easy to see.
This time, it would be difficult to imagine that the operation will succeed. The full text is short enough that anyone can immediately check what has actually been said. It is even written in English, that fantastic twistings of it, in principle, is not possible. But in practically, yes, it appears on this issue anything is possible.
In any case, the situation has now arisen in which journalists once again like a flock of crows, with no rational arguments to raise attack one person and drag (?) along with them leading politicians who are afraid or unwilling to defend the basic values of democracy, but go along with the nonsense, some out of happiness, some out of cowardice. Few do this out of sheer stupidity, because everyone can quickly check what the issue really is.
The story itself is banal. Multiculturalism is something of which its harmfulness has emphatically been stated by the British Prime Minister to the German Chancellor. To fight against it is topical and important political task for the whole of Europe. The labeling of the issue as a thought crime that requires sanctions because of it being presented, is simply a struggle against the basic principles of democracy.
In the social media it’s easy to see that such a campaign is very easy to pull along the dumb that normally have no need of thinking abut the forming of their opinions, rather they just follow the wretched crowd. Thus, the responsibility is for those who really are able to understand what this is all about. Do they dare to defend democracy, even if they don’t get points by their party? This will now be the measure of the man.