New Left debates with M. M. Karlsson on how to prevent the capture of government by elites

The New Left debate series are inviting to participate in the public discussion “Democracy versus Elite Rule: the Road from Serfdom”, which will take place on Wednesday, 21 March at 6:30 pm at “La Boheme” (White room), Šv. Ignoto g. 4/3, Vilnius.

The talk will be given in English with translation provided on site.

The speaker Mikael M. Karlsson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iceland, where he has taught for almost 40 years. His areas of particular interest include moral philosophy, philosophy of law, agency and motivation, and ancient philosophy. His chief sources of philosophical inspiration are Aristotle and Kant, but he has also been influenced by Hume, Descartes, John Stuart Mill and various contemporary philosophers. His political views are considered to be too radical and too unrealistic to be acceptable to any known political party or movement and are not likely to gain influence in the near future; his self-chosen description is “democratic anarchist”.

In this talk, it will be maintained that genuine democracy is incompatible with rule by political elites and that, therefore, none of the so-called modern democracies are genunely democratic—nor have any of the alternatives to modern parliamentary democracy, however idealistic, escaped elite rule.

Elite rule, no matter what its cover story may happen to be, invariably reduces the general population to effective serfdom. It will further be maintained that political parties and movements are inherently anti-democratic and perpetuate political elites.

In a so-called modern democracy, these institutions prevent reflective public discourse, limit popular participation in government, and serve as obstacles to the development of coherent, constructive public policy. It will be maintained that the best framework for honest, non-oppressive government is representative democracy.

The political problem of democracies is to reconstitute parliamentary democracy so as to prevent the capture of government by elites. The practical—and perhaps the only genuine—political problem of mature “democratic” polities is to reconstitute parliamentary democracy so as to prevent the capture of government by elites. For this purpose, the political process must be continuous, open and transparent, and must be institutionally protected against the well-known techniques of corruption and capture. No patent solutions to the problem will be offered, but some suggestions will be made.

The discussion will be chaired by Algis Davidavičius, the discussant – Andrius Bielskis.

Confirm your participation on Facebook. More info on Demos website.

The event is organised in cooperation with Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

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