Man watches bombing campaign Jodi Hilton/ZumaPress

La démocratie et sa signification manquante

NEW YORK – La décision d'abandonner une paix et une prospérité relatives, au profit d'une guerre brutale et à l'issue incertaine, peut paraître irrationnelle. Mais les jeunes gens nés et élevés dans les sociétés démocratiques sont de plus en plus nombreux à céder à l'appel de groupes mortifères comme l'État islamique et à abandonner leur foyer et leur famille pour aller faire le djihad dans des pays lointains. Pourquoi la démocratie a-t-elle perdu l'allégeance de ces esprits inquiets ? Comment peut-elle gagner les cœurs et les esprits d'autres personnes qui pourraient être tentées d'en faire autant ?

Le philosophe Friedrich Nietzsche a écrit que les hommes préfèrent encore la volonté du néant à celle de ne point vouloir du tout. Le profond désespoir de l'atonie, de l'impuissance et du désespoir est beaucoup moins attrayant que l'intensité, quitte à devoir trouver cette intensité dans la violence, la mort et la destruction.

En un mot, il s'agit d'une question de signification, au sujet de la présence de ce qui nous motive, de ce nous relie les uns aux autres et donne du sens à nos vies. Si cette signification fait défaut (si par exemple les idéaux et les institutions démocratiques ne parviennent plus à fournir un sentiment palpable de la communauté et une visée commune), alors les citoyens vont chercher une raison d'être ailleurs, ce qui dans certains cas peut les inciter à agir en vue de causes néfastes.

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