Takeaways from “Is Democracy Dying?” lecture by John Whyte

CATEGORIES: Student Perspective
John Whyte presented "Is Democracy Dying?" on April 11 as part of First Amendment Days. Photo by Maria V. Charbonneaux

By Tara Larson, senior in journalism

John Whyte, a Canadianc constitutional law scholar, spoke as part of First Amendment Days 2018 on April 11. He discussed many aspects of democracy and what makes and destroys a democratic society during his hour-long lecture. Although he discussed quite a few ideas, there were a few key takeaways.

So, is democracy dying?

Whyte began is lecture by asking, “Is democracy dying? Yes.” He then asked, “Will democracy survive? Of course.” Whyte began discussing the psychology behind democracy, and why it is built-in need for humans. He said that people will not turn away things that serve humanity well, which democracy does.

The power of persuasion

Persuasion is a tactic we talk about in public relations classes in Greenlee, but Whyte talked about how it plays into democracy. He said, “At the core of democracy processes is persuasion.” Whyte also talked about how persuasion is a gift that everyone needs and deserves. He talked about how using persuasion is the humane way to deal with competing ideas.

Damaging effects of democracy

Whyte brought up a few ideas in his lecture of how democracy is dying. He brought up different human behaviors, specifically behaviors seen in today’s politics. “Discrimination is a poison that destroys democracy,” Whyte said. Tara Larson in a senior in journalism from Humboldt, Iowa. She’s a member of the Greenlee School communications team.