When subterranean political forces aiming for substantial change in our demos have been set in motion, we would do well to look for their representation not in polls referring only to what people of voting age ‘now’ think about some topic. We should also look to what and how our children are educated, to how they are taught or inclined to reason and feel, to the inclinations of their peer group as much as anything else.
One does more long-term damage to a democratic nation through the youth, through education and peer pressure, than through any other method. All that such subterranean political forces need to do to effectuate their changes to a democratic nation–and there is no democracy without a demos–is infiltrate the reasoning and values of the youth. It is a form of political pregnancy that goes unnoticed; it grows and festers until the right moment, where the execution determines its success as much as anything else. Revolutionaries are characterized as much by their method as by their execution; we can be sure of some very badly executed revolutions.
Once these subterranean forces have impregnated the host that is the future, they can then defend their growing, festering future by ‘buying time’ and by ‘striving to never do what is needed’. They can kick things into the long grass by prolonging the decision-making process. They can raise concerns in other areas of policy and thus take attention away from the impregnated youth. They can even pretend they are losing to avoid suspicion. In short, their actions are many. With the previous tactics, and should their execution show a certain demagogic mastery, they can even sow the political discontent that they later reap through their revolutionized ‘youth’.
Nothing reveals this subterranean force more than the staunch political will to ‘lower’ the voting age at a decisive moment, i.e., some upcoming election or referendum. Such drastic measures to include the youth are acts of self-defense that greatly compromise the pregnancy by prematurely revealing the revolutionary process. We can see them as the last sighs or the last ditch attempts of the impregnator.
All this sounds deeply sinister, but consider also that democracies–which best represent individual freedom–are not the only ones vulnerable to these subterranean political forces and methods. All revolutions, irrespective of the political system whence they grow, find their root in and are even enacted by the gleeful and starry-eyed youth; even the most oppressive or imperialistic ones follow a similar pattern. The subterranean political forces demanding revolution begin and end with the youth, but at their head are often bitter, failed, resentful old men, women and-or transgenders. The youth represents the muscle of some failed, disgruntled old person or people. Make no mistake about it, some kind of failure stands at the head of any revolution. This proposition is partially demonstrated by, I suppose, the resilience of a democracy, which has proven to be the best system to minimize ‘failure’; or, perhaps my perspective is wrong. Perhaps, it is the best system to manage revolutions. In any case, it is not any demos that is good at coping with failures or managing revolutions, but certainly the demos that is genuinely committed to freedom of religion, property rights and free-enterprise.
In short, change is not wrong as such, but if we are settled on what we as a demos want to represent–that is, if we are settled on the limits of the values of our ‘demos’ and the limits of their application–then we should learn from the limitations of our political system for defending those values. In some respects, our democratic political system is just that, a system, and its limitations are in some respects the same as any other political system. Those limitations are represented by the corruptibility, the malleability, of our own children. Make no mistake about it, however, this same corruptibility and malleability is what drives us to give our lives for our children.
In sum, we cannot rely on politics or our political system for everything, least of all the moral values that characterize our demos. The best any political system can do is offer limited protection, but not guarantee it independent from our own, individual or collective effort. Revolution, slow or otherwise, represents a change in the demos, which our political system offers limited protection from. It is not, and in my opinion, never has been the role of a political system to prevent revolutions, but to manage them as they arise in an attempt to minimize the damage they bring with them. The prevention of a revolution as well as its enactment has always been the role of individuals in a nation working together, working collectively.