There have been deep, serious discussions about these arguments in western political philosophy circles for a long time. The most recent time I read about this was in the two-volume edition of the Oxford Political Philosophy Series, published in 2015. After reading more serious criticisms of democracy and counter-arguments (including the responses to those arguments), the poorly-formulated and pseudo-academic “development without democracy” argument that has been imported from Russia seems very cheap. Western debates on this topic are not simply restricted to academic circles (generally, there are no strict borders between academic and public debates in the west), but have also reached ordinary people and been internalized by them. There is a favourable environment for promoting cheap arguments, due to our public’s unawareness of the debates on this subject.
In addition, general ignorance is at such a dangerous level in our society that even those who are educated, somewhat skilled, and have access to the world not only believe these arguments but also become its promoters. They are not asking what kind of development it will be if there is no democratic oversight of professional bureaucrats. How can they believe that an unelected government that is accountable to no one, even if it claims to be “benevolent”, can ensure development? How is it possible that they choose to believe this?
It is important for the democratic network to provide answers to these arguments and engage in dialogue with these groups. They are, in any case, an integral part of society, and it is not useful for the democratic network to provide a platform for two groups that are not listening to each other. The democratic colonization of these people is a must.
The impossibility of the “development without democracy”
Generally, we are discussing a point which demonstrates the importance of giving up the instrumental promotion of democracy, human rights, and liberty by referencing certain sources, and instead provide a philosophical, theoretical, and empirical explanation of democracy. It is important to explain to people - in particular, to those young bureaucrats - the importance of democratic oversight, and how development and democracy are correlated. Otherwise, regardless of how strict and crushing the informative exposure to the situation is, it may not mean that much.
What makes this exposure meaningful are assumptions and definitions, with which the situation is perceived. Another task of the democratic network is to regularly formulate and enrich those definitions and assumptions. This is a lot of effort in scope and
intellectually profound work. It is hard to believe in the possibility of taking a shortcut that bypasses this route.
The democratic network needs deeper debates on topics such as the possibility or impossibility of development without democracy. The democratic network needs to be able to facilitate these debates within itself. For this reason, it is crucial that there is a free environment for debate within the democratic network itself.
As we saw in the example of public discourse these days, discussion of certain topics within the democratic network cannot be restricted solely on the principle of whether these discussions serve the interests of the democratic network or not. On the contrary, debates within the democratic network should be enlightening by nature of the discourse being free, inspiring, and intellectual.
It would be incorrect to claim that it does not exist at all, but it does not seem to be enough. It is clear that informative exposure to the situation is increasingly taking more space. There can be many reasons for this; for example, the critical media has always leaned more towards popular trends by putting public discussions in the spotlight. However, as it was mentioned above, it is important to understand the definitions and assumptions, by which the information that has been exposed is perceived. For this reason, it is necessary to facilitate more philosophical and theoretical public discussions on a wide range of topics, including the possibility or impossibility of development without democracy.