Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AP, GPO)
YNetNews By: Arik Karmon
Op-ed: Fear and the manner in which it is leveraged by leaders in the US, Europe and Israel threatens democracy. The common denominator of what is developing within the US presidential election campaign (the Trump phenomenon), Europe, in which the echoes of the extreme right wing parties are growing, and PM Netanyahu’s rhetoric of intimidation in Israel is a creeping threat to the foundations of democracy.
Democracy is a complex organism. Its fortitude depends on several variables, one of the most important of which is civil society’s self-confidence that democracy serves as its way of life. Self-confidence is a prerequisite for a life of hope, welfare and stability, particularly in a reality where there is a variety of religious, ethnic and cultural differences. Self confidence is what provides the ability to cope with the consequences of the variety of differences, especially with the tensions and conflicts arising from them. Self-confidence is also a solution for dealing with ambiguous situations that characterize political reality.
In times of threats to physical security, where exposure to risks (security, economic, social ) increases, the challenges facing democracy increase . Its difficult trials pop up precisely at such times. What is being challenged is the ability to distinguish and respect these differences and look at the reality, no matter how difficult , with a critical look able to differentiate between human phenomena. However, unlike fear, which is part of human nature, self confidence is not natural. When there is mounting fear – the great enemy of freedom – self-confidence is the first victim. Fear without reason paralyzes it.