The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

What is a democratic character and how does it shape?

In the political discourse of societies with democratic order and democratized authority, the discussion of the cultural context and the divisiveness of the process of the democratic character is very important among many other components. This has somewhat caused that some writers to limit the discussion of the cultural context of democracy and focus on the notion of democratic character, which is actually the main motivator of the mobility and dynamism of democratic processes and civilized society. At the same time, the issue of democratic character has a special place in the fact that most of the societies in crisis such as ours, suffer from the lack of institutionalization of democratic values, and most political and legal mechanisms are based on purely authoritarian values. So, in the light of the hot and current discourses in the country, the debate about the formation and the reason for the democratic character of the intellectual chambers should turn out to be the dominant discourse of our political community. Because, in some ways, democratic society needs a democratic character that can rely on its main foundations and make it work for expansion and fortification of democratic values.
On the other hand, since some writers regard democracy as a set of attitudes emanating from open-minded and non-authoritarian ideas, the democratic character is considered as the mainstay of a democracy and it gives it greater consistency. Why? Because this character is the result of a rational process under the umbrella of democracy and below the umbrella of the political culture of the society and it is formed from the fact that the character is shaped by a democratic one, a sense of reliance on people’s support and responsiveness to them, separated from authoritarianism and tyranny. So, on this account, the collective beliefs and attitudes and values that shape this process of democracy are in fact political culture, so political culture is capable of forming a democratic character. It is in fact a political culture that promotes the emergence of a democratic character, and, in the shadow of it, democratic rulers rely on the universal will of power. In this regard, questions arise in the reader’s mind about which kind of political culture is prone to the expansion of democratic values in a country? And since it is in fact the cultural, political, historical, and economic fields that make space for the expansion of political culture and in the light of which a democratic person emerges and plays a role in the social and political developments of human societies. There must be some points in this regard. Here, it has been suggested that, since a democratic character in terms of social psychology is a character that is susceptible to political participation in social life and considers political life as an area of activity among equal people, and avoid of domination of others from one and don’t followblindly others (which is the two main attributes of the authoritarian character), so its formation, in the light of democratic values, is an indispensable part of an open society. In addition, the development of a democratic character is gradual and selective according to the qualities mentioned above and requires political culture under the democratic system. Therefore, having talent for political activity and acknowledging the equal contribution of all members of the community to political processes is a constant effort by a democratic person to promote democracy and the rule the people in its brightness.
Another question that may come in the reader’s mind is that is this character shaped by considering the definition mentioned above? What are the requirements for the formation of a democratic character and finally at what level is it necessary? And whether the formation of a democratic character is an intrinsic product of a person or influenced by his socialization element? Is it possible to form such a character now that the Afghan community lacks the democratic values literally?
 On the other hand, because the democratic character is only possible to be shaped in a democratic process and sees himself as a product of the equation of political culture in an open space, he considers all people equal in the field of political and social affairs and emphasizes the greater value of civil rights. Making democratic character has evolved within democratic processes and emphasizes the consolidation of democratic values and the consolidation of democratic structures. From this point of view, the democratic character is not regarded as a category in social psychology for the individual’s intrinsic qualities, but the result of complex processes of socialization, and various factors, such as political structure and the distribution of political power, play a role in shaping it.
In addition, a person with a democratic character was first introduced by Harold Lasswel on the following four criteria’s:
First: openness and sociality as a result of relationships with others: this form essentially forms the core of a democratic character. Providing social relationships and being interacting with the community makes it a character trait and fulfills the material and spiritual mutual needs as a result of a multilateral process. This sense, in the majority of cases, leads to the isolation of thought and thinking, and to the social and anticipated existence of the helping others, the process of human life and the arena of political interactions in the realm of the people of their own society;
Second: the preference of values and needs that are also of interest to others: in fact, preference is given to the human and social values of mankind, which provides the context for the objective and peculiar combination of human and social relations. In many cases, paying attention to the needs of others increases the sense of persuasion of the person and causes his breath. In this case, the real context of authoritarianism and of the magnanimous conflicts will be eliminated, and human behavior will be based on a win-win game, in which case neither side will suffer;
Third: Believing in the natural nature of human beings with self-confidence: Believing and believing in the goodness of mankind, the democratic character derives from his democratic beliefs. In this respect, the sense of optimism and lack of pessimism among democratic figures is far more than others. Meanwhile, the sense of solidarity and corporations among people in society to promote human space is considered to be the intellectual motive of a democratic person;
Fourth: the penetration of these features into an unconscious person. The prevalence and promotion of self-beliefs, the preference for the values and needs of others, and the supply of sustained humanitarian values will rise at a time in the democratic character, and will force a democratic person based on ethical and human values to fulfill this sincere and bottom line. Believing it, the penetration of democratic criticism and a self-conscious individual leads to a mix of ethical and political beliefs.
In the thoughts of many writers, personalities and participation in political life have reciprocated. In fact, the sense of self-esteem and self-confidence, sociality, extraversion, optimism, self-sufficiency, and low motivation for power-seeking and domination of peoples have been implicitly combined with the participation in the political life of human societies. If these do not exist in the characters who claim to be democrats and to re-establish the democratic system in human societies, their character isn’t democratic, but authoritative, and any claims in this regard are indicative of the lack of integrity in this regard. In this case, the pro-democracy character has evolved to an authoritarian character, in effect, with two characteristics of the sense of domination of others and blind obedience of others, and will be in the quest for the destruction of democratic values. Here, in contrast to the notion of the democratic character of authoritarian character in social psychology, it is based on an undemocratic system that grows on the grounds of opportunism, power struggles, and causes undeniable conflicts. The authoritarian character is in fact the perfect symbol of a “fascist scale” which emphasizes on its characteristics, including the submission to superior powers, the domination of the peoples, and the lack of sense of equality among their fellows. Such characters in the political process show less democratic participation and call for the reestablishment of a hierarchical, systematic society that is not relativistic with the concept of a democratic and open society.
In this regard, it is imperative that the character and the features of this theory be turned to the attention of many theorists, it is necessary to address the character and intellectual angles of this kind of character, as if the decomposition and separation of that type of authority were necessary. So this is a democratic character who, for his unique profile, is one of the characters that actively participates in policies, workplaces and voluntary associations, and possibly in democratic families. Though in societies where no culture and democratic values have been institutionalized or promoted, this concept is not public, but it has occasionally been used in the research work of scholars to use the term democratic character. The term “democratic character” can be used in a variety of ways; one applies to character motivating forces, and the other to individual character traits.
Characteristic features are the person’s long-time tendencies and temperament, which occur in many situations; they determine the structure of human behavior on a large scale. These features are more general than attitudes that may be limited to a limited number of situations (for example, voting attitudes). Democratic character refers to the kind of character or character syndrome that prompts a person to participate in a democratic political structure and democratic processes in politics, work, associations, or families, or to create such structures and processes. The concept of democratic character, although usually limited to politics and government, actually emanates from all the main sectors of society.
As previously noted, Lasswell was the first scholar to use the term of democratic character. In terms of Lasswell, four democratic manifestations are just as fundamental to life as the process of shaping a democratic character, which has already been mentioned. Democratic character is adapted to a democratic society or society; it is where the democratic character boasts and works. It exhibits mobility and dynamism and becomes an active ingredient in terms of human effort. Whenever an inadequate relationship between individuals causes self-esteem in a person, the democratic manifestation of growth remains. In the 1960s, Leicester Miller investigated the determinants of political participation, including character traits. Milberat realized that people who have certain characteristics of their own are more likely to participate in political affairs than others.
It was noted above that a democratic person can show mobility and dynamism in the community and family. But unfortunately, another less well-known part is the household and democratic family. The household can be run in a democratic way or in an authoritarian way. In the democratic family, they are likely to be women and husbands, they are relatively equal in terms of sharing home-care and taking care of children, taking financial decisions, taking joint decisions, talking about their decisions, and talking to one another and respect each other’s.
In the democratic family, the overview of which children grow older will give them more responsibility for life. Submissive obedience is far less important than responsible behavior, and as the age of children increases, they more often share family decisions. Democratic character is in general similar to the active-effective character that David Horton Smith draws in “Participation in Social and Political Activities” (1980). A person who has the characteristics of a democratic character and who has “more important bases” (high education, high incomes, etc.) is encouraged by parents, teachers and their peers, who are at all activities and social-cultural structures and are accepted in a democratic environment. Therefore, people with a democratic character are the most active individuals in all types of groups, and social and political activism in a democratic society. So on this account, there is an inseparable and interconnected relationship between the democratic character and the democratic society, that no one can be thought of as separate from the other.
1. Ashuri, Darius. political dictionary. Fifth Edition. Tehran: Pearl Publishing;
2. Asilovan, Noel (editor), 2009, Political theory in transition, translation of Hasan Abneki, Tehran;
3. Bashiriya, Hussein, Political Science knowledge learning Vol. I and II;
4. Bashiriya, Hussein, The Transition to Democracy;
6. Wikipedia-Democratic character

Abdul Naser Noorzad, Kabul University Lecturer

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.