Democracia sin demócratas

El filósofo Karl Popper tenía buenas razones para proponer una definición precisa del concepto "democracia". La democracia, decía, es un modo de sacar a quienes están en el poder sin derramamiento de sangre. El método preferido de Popper era, por supuesto, depositar los votos en las urnas.

La definición de Popper evita disputas teológicas acerca del "gobierno del pueblo" y si una cosa así puede existir realmente. También permite ahorrarnos el intento de pegar en la definición toda clase de objetivos deseables, como la igualdad en términos sociales y técnicos, una teoría general del proceso efectivo de la "democratización", o incluso un conjunto de virtudes cívicas relacionadas con la participación.

Pero la definición que Popper da de la democracia no es útil cuando se plantea una pregunta que se ha convertido en tema recurrente en varias partes del mundo: ¿qué pasa si quienes salen del poder creen en la democracia, mientras que quienes los reemplazan no? En otras palabras, ¿qué pasa si la gente "errada" resulta electa?

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