Democracy can unite a nation in order to create democracy, but it can’t unite the same nation to create anything else, be it a better world, “the pursuit of happiness”, social justice or even “fairness”. That’s it’s paradox.
Obviously if you assume a vague meaning to the word “democracy”, like “democracy is the people in charge”, you can be so vague that it is impossible to know anything besides misleading moralistic injunctions — like “democracy is good”. In other words: usually government forms are discussed in such ideological ways that it is not different than two kids discussing whose father is stronger.
Therefore i will try using votocracy as a synonym for democracy, as in a system of power where the universal vote is seen as the higher decision mechanism.
So what happens is, when some wacko comes and say “Look, let’s do this votocracy thing, everyone will be able to vote so, automat(g)ically, everyone’s opinion will be respected and our society will be just and fair”, it’s easy to agree with him, so easy in fact that you can form an army to depose the current king and implement something like French Revolution’s terror.
[Notes: this phrase obviously does not work with my improved term votocracy, but you get the idea; the consequence of the idea does not have to be terror, obviously, i am just saying it can be; it should also be clear that this thing also does not work if anyone asks the guy what does he mean by “just and fair”]
Now contrast that with “Look, let’s do this votocracy thing, everyone will be able to vote so, automat(g)ically, we will discover what is the best thing to do about transit accidents”. Suddenly, you begin having to substitute “will be able to vote” with “has to vote”. What was at first presented as a right now is a civic duty, what was fun becomes another chore into an already boring life. Votocracy that in argument seemed like a gift from the heavens now is a demand from a shapeless bureaucracy.
The problem is that votocracy can only seem like a good thing to implement for it seems that people would like to have a say in random matters. What that idea does, exactly, is to hide the nature of the problem: to take decisions is a form of work, it spends energy. Where will that energy come from?
It is also curious that, while in a tyranny, for example, society is hostage to the person in power, who can take stupid decisions for feeble reasons like whether or not he had a good shit that day, in a votocracy society is still hostage to a idiosyncratic decision process, and it is one that has absolutely no more guarantees than any other one.
In this way, maybe “Democracy” is a self-fulfilling prophecy.