I found this video a few weeks back (DISCLAIMER! It is very real and violent at times). The video is a compilation of video footage of protests (i.e. the Arab Spring, Iranian protests, etc.) from mostly recent – but some past – events around the world. In the background, the final speech by Charlie Chapman in The Great Dictator is playing. The people in this video had nothing left but to protest for democracy. Democracy may have been deemed “tyranny of the majority” but it is the best system we have. The beauty of democracy is its versatility and use as a means rather than an end. Timothy Ferris writes in his book The Science of Liberty, that a liberal democracy is all about experimentation – to find the best solution for the whole population at one time. When the idea fails and new variables are inevitably added, that spirit of progressive experimentation allows for a new and better solution. The constant evolution of democracy is what makes it the best system we have.
Our world is becoming more and more liberally democratic, in the big picture. But our situation is not all cozy. In 1990, the astronomer Carl Sagan and a team of technicians sent a command to the Voyager 1 spacecraft to take an image, billions of kilometres from earth. The result was a sublime photo of earth, just a spec of dust – a pale blue dot.
History reveals as much as the past as possible. It is the historians duty to use that information. The above video, combined with the photo of earth, shows how fragile our situation is. The universe seems to have no objective purpose, it is our duty to find one.