We are all the shapers of our future, not just the politicians. But do we live up to this responsibility for our world?
Most citizens cultivate a hedonistic lifestyle and enjoy material things. But how can a solid and vibrant state be built on the foundation of passive citizens? What would happen if we left the community to extremes and jugglers? Is voting every four years enough for a vibrant democracy? Which individual is still asking what she or he can do for their country?
The discourse in our societies is often too harsh. This affects political debates as well. Politeness, listening to or respecting the ideas of others are in short supply. Ideally, rational political decisions depend on the conduct of informed, enlightened citizens. What do we experience instead? Polarisation of opinions and debates, dehumanisation of political dissidents and even hatred. Sometimes even raw violence. That is poison for democracy, because nobody has a mono- poly on the truth. Errors are human.
We need more dialogue, not bans on freedom of thought and rhetorical rubber truncheons.
A clear opinion is good. But we should disarm rhetorically, listen more, try to understand each other’s arguments better, look for and find good solutions together.
Less doggedness and more humor will help.
If we heed these principles our democracy is likely to flourish. Important and influential catalysts of opinion formation, such as experts in research institutes, NGOs and conferences, bear a special responsibility. Are they fulfilling their social mission?
The World Economic Forum is exemplary in developing concise and substantial proposals. Unfortunately, it is an exception. I have attended many conferences and I am constantly reading research reports. What stands out? Too many experts describe the problems in detail hiding behind technical terms. They almost never come up with concrete proposals for actions. Why? They have not acquired this indispensable competence. Moreover, many are afraid of proposing concrete actions, because they want to avoid committing themselves and their recommendations could prove incorrect. Many ex- perts shy away from criticizing politicians ‘mistakes because their research is being funded by government institutions. They depend on it. Thus, the vast majority of intellectuals are incapable of acting as motors of concrete progress.
The public discussion is dominated by colourful descriptions of problems and slogans from the cornucopia of politics, the majority of which are ideologically tainted.
Dr. Fritz Kraemer aptly called the result “noble chatting”. Nice non-binding words. “L’art pour l’art”, just for the sake of self-expression. Without ideas for improvement, merely going around in circles and not progressing. That is insufficient for designing a good future.
It cannot go on like this because we are missing future oppor- tunities.
We must mobilise our civil society for an active, future-orien- ted offering solutions.
What about us citizens?
We are the people.
We are the future.
It is our responsibility.
Are we not too anxious? Passive? Authoritarian?
First of all, we must become more active ourselves. We have to bring civic courage into the political discourse. But, if pos- sible, with concrete proposals and not with confused conspi- racy theories.
We must not just be a bourgeois subject.
This is civic duty number one.
We must become responsible citizens.
- Let us all become active as citizens – without fear and the courage to shape the future.
- Studies and lectures should always present various options and concrete proposals for solutions. Readers and listeners are invited to submit their own ideas online in advance. This critical support will be evaluated and published in the worldwide web. This would allow us to learn from each other and focus on possible solutions.
- The selection of lecturers should be based on their competence and problem-solving abilities, not only on titles and academic positions.
- Research institutes and NGOs must be more confident and critical of governments. They should also disclose their sources of funding.
- Let us meet dissidents with respect and let us have an open dialogue about the appropriate course of a Mission Future. Let us listen, talk and act.