Why Building Democracy is So Difficult
Published on: October 1, 2006
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  • HSL

    Thank you, Prof. Fukuyama, for personally posting so much good material here. I have only been checking this blog occasionally, but will now be reading daily. Please keep it up!

  • Martin Kacprzycki

    Thank you Mr.Fukuyama for your great article. As you show this is a real problem about class. But do you really think that the same can happen in “new europe” like Poland as happened in Thailand?

  • Santor Praetorius

    Will democracy take root or not? It’s like the question of life in regard to planet Earth’s position in the solar system. Too close, it’ll burn up. Too far away, it’ll freeze. Also, too small and the atmosphere will evaporate into space. Too big and gravity will weigh down on lifeforms.
    Culture has similar power over a people.

    A people with an overly fiery temperament cannot be tamed toward democracy because of too much bickering and violence under freedom. A people who are too tame and timid in temperament cannot develop a democracy because most people are not willing to stand their own ground.
    Anglos and Americans were best suited for developing democracy because they had a nice mix of orderliness and individuality.
    Iraqis are too hotheaded and are proving that only an iron fist can bring order to that part of the world.
    Japanese were naturally too inhibited and orderly to develop democracy on their own. It had to imposed by another nation.
    When it comes to impositional democracy, a people known for cultural order and discipline–even if non-democratic–are better suited for the new order than people who are rambunctious, hotheaded, and argumentative. Germans and Japanese readily accepted and implemented the foreign imposition of democracy. Iraqis, hotheaded and angry, cannot seem to follow any kind of order or implement any kind of policy.

    Of course, it helped that Germany and Japan were totally crushed, and every German and Japanese accepted total defeat.
    In World War I, Germany surrendered without being defeated or conquered. Germany acted like a boxer who loses by a TKO. Such boxers often complain that he was not hurt, that he was winning and would have won if the fight had been allowed to continue. In WWII, Germany was totally KO’ed. It became docile and willing to work with other nations. Similarly, while Japan had been intimidated by foreign powers up to WWII, it hadn’t been defeated. It felt the Yamato spirit would see Japan thru. In WWII, Japan was totally smashed. Simply for the sake of survival, Japanese felt they had to do as Americans told them.
    In Iraq, we failed to KO anyone. Iraqis have learned to both run and hide. And, they keep punching us when our back is turned.

    Anyway, there are many key reasons Earth produced life and not other planets in the solar system. Same is true for why democratic seeds sprout and grow in some cultures but not in others. There is no single reason but there are various reasons that create a certain balanced environment that makes democracy or democratizing progress possible. Most crucial is the balance of orderliness and individualism. Too much of either is bad for democracy. Still, when it comes to imposed democratism, the former is better suited to accept democracy than the latter, at least after total defeat.
    Africans are very lively, hotheaded, and individualistic; indeed, too much so for democracy to work in black Africa. Even in the US, black politics tend to be most demagogic, childish, and backward.

    So, temperment is one key element, though in conjunction with many others.

  • Allen Wright

    Santor Praetorius – That is the most racist, childish generalisation I have ever heard.

  • gerson miguel rodriguez diaz

    I am thrilled with this report on Thailand because it proves that even though democracy
    is the most important form of government in the history of this world it is very far from being what it is meant to be, a process in which the citizens of a given country entrust political parties to run the governamental machinery in order to fulfill the laws and the commandments of a constitution for the well being of an entire citezenery. It is always the people in power who receive the benfits of being in power not the constituency, THIS IS NOT WHAT DEMOCRACY SHOULD BE ABOUT.

    Corruption in a democracy is a form of tyranny. Therefore if corruption thrives in it, it stops being a democracy because the law of the land stops working. The law is the key element that gives democracy its value, its reason for being, I think.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the readers. Your book AMERICA AT THE CROOSROADS is solid gold, excellent.

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