Democracy, Druidry, Dissent

What’s the difference between democracy, and mob rule? Part of the answer is the safeguarding of dissent. The other part of the answer is all about inbuilt checks and balances, but I don’t want to get into that today. Without dissent, what you have is a tyranny, a majority rule that crushes difference. As a Druid, a member of a minority faith group, I feel very strongly in favour of anything that allows a peaceful minority to get on with its own things even when that’s not what the majority wants to do.

Dissent keeps us healthy. A government of yes-men can’t examine its assumptions and actions terribly well. This is one of the main reasons democracies include opposition parties in the decision making process. Criticism, doubt and scrutiny help keep politics more honest and more reasonable then they would otherwise be (consider how all-powerful monarchs have tended to behave). A government that is not dealing with robust opposition gets arrogant and ignores or even abuses segments of its own population.

Radical change in a country does not, and should not happen overnight. For people who are largely oblivious to politics, the whole Brexit thing may look like sudden drama, but it isn’t. The Brexit vote was made possible by years of dissent and disagreement, and by people who did not agree with previous democratic votes and choices being entitled to keep grumbling about that, keep agitating, keep campaigning. I might not like the outcome but I absolutely support the right of people and parties to act in this way.

There are a lot of people who have been drawn into UK politics by Brexit who would not normally be involved, and they do not have much idea how democracy works. This is clear from the number of them who are saying ‘we won so you have to shut up and accept it’. This is not what democracy means, and democracy needs defending from this fundamental misunderstanding.

Imagine what would happen if once a vote had been taken, on anything, it could never again be discussed or re-voted on. We wouldn’t be leaving Europe, for a start. Assume that ‘one vote decides everything’ politics was in place and most of us wouldn’t even have the vote. It took years of dissent and campaigning to get votes for women, and to get rid of the land ownership requirements that excluded many men.

We have to be able to change direction at need. We have to revisit ideas, and challenge established thinking all the time, because the reality around us – physical and political – also changes. A hundred years ago, the politics of what happens when the fossil fuel runs out was not an issue on people’s minds. What will we have to think about a hundred years hence? Who knows!

Whatever your politics are, I call upon you to defend the systems that make democracy work. I know democracy barely works, I know it’s a flawed, problematic, clunky, questionable system, but right now it is the best system we have. If you can think of a better way of doing things… what a good job we do still have an option on dissent.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

12 responses to “Democracy, Druidry, Dissent

  • Ryan C.

    Thank you! I’m getting truly fed up of the attitude from some in the Leave camp that those of us who voted Remain have lost, and should just shut up about it. We still have the right to free speech, protest and offer dissenting opinions.

  • Ella Wherry

    “We have to revisit ideas, and challenge established thinking all the time, because the reality around us – physical and political – also changes” You are right. Democracy is wonderful…but we, all the people of the world, are living in an Oligarchy. Politically, the EU was founded as the base structure for the New World Order which is not a democracy and operates with a trans-human agenda. What you don’t see yet is that many other countries in the EU are also breaking rank, following the lead and declaring independence and sovereignty from the infiltrated US black government. This vote turned the tide, and is allowing people all over to declare themselves free. Really free, as humans should be.

    • Nimue Brown

      My hope is that we can turn around from this and build something new based on co-operation rather than business. we need to tackle cross border issues – and that’s planet issues at this level. Pollution and climate change know no borders.

      • Ella Wherry

        Perhaps if we all focus on knowing our communities, and enhancing those; resolving those issues that way, each one will follow suit. Successes can be copied, errors avoided. I think we are a people with amnesia…most just don’t know the mythology of their people or ancestors, but are broken and separated by design. Loving the land, sharing the wisdom will help heal. Even the Dali Lama once said that the world would be saved by the women of the west. How that relates to each of us will no doubt be expressed differently, but honoring Gaia is to me, first call.

      • angiewillis22

        I voted Remain and was quite upset for a couple of days – bombarded with all this uncertainty and in-fighting. But then I began to think that maybe this is a great opportunity to make a change in the way things have been for so long, with the ever more powerful corporations and, yes Ella, the oligarchy. And I began to wonder how different things might be if the two main political parties both elected women leaders. Because now of all times we need people who can think cross-party and co-operate with each other rather than continually trying to score points of each other. I think that women are better equipped by their very nature to do that. Blessings

      • Nimue Brown

        ‘How do we make something good out of this?’ Is always the question to ask, I think, and it helps a person stay sane and hopeful.

  • Norman Andrews

    I voted to come out, 40 odd years ago I wanted us in to the then common market , but the common market changed , maybe it changed for the better , in my view it did not, but that is just my view I understand other people do not share this view. I am saddened that some people have used this to behave like thugs , but the trouble is thugs will use any excuse to behave like thugs.
    How to make something good out of this ?, one thing it will stop our politician’s hiding behind the EU, they will no longer be able to say “it’s not us it’s Europe” , I know that’s not much but it’s a start.


  • Ella Wherry

    If you have not heard of it, really, check out Ubuntu in South Aftrica…well, it’s spreading so fast around the world that there are alignments in every country. It is not a political party. It is having to run a political campaign just to get introduced with legitimacy in a community, but the tennants are open, clear and transparent. It is a return to community. As to having women in politics, I think if you watch the US and Killary, you will be witness, as we are to the SHTF, disclosing the sham of the false political system and the idea of democracy as it is today. Both parties are really the same…it is the illusion of choice here. Black magic being unwound for all the world to witness. Change is inevitable, but suffering and the fear of it is optional, always. If we embrace it, we get to be the ones making the magic!

  • lornasmithers

    I’ve been thinking recently about how long it takes to see the effects of dissent take place. It was long after the riots of Chartists working men got the vote and long after the actions of the suffragettes all women were given the vote. I guess it’s slightly different when you’re protesting against something like fracking when it’s not progress you’re after but saving a bit of land that will be destroyed, although I guess campaigning for the environment to be valued will be a longer process…

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