Pluralisme, Democratie en Politieke Kennis
Increasingly the constitutional, legal, political and other devices by means of which people were traditionally supposed to ensure some influence over the shaping of their lives and their society – if only negative influence – are becoming inef­fective. This is not merely in the sense in which they have always been ineffecti­ve for the “labouring poor” in any but a trivial manner, but that they are increa­singly irrelevant to the actual machinery of technocratic and bureaucratized de­cision. ‘Politics’ are reduced to public relations and manipulations. Decisions as vital as war and peace not merely by-pass the official organs for them, but may be taken - by a handful of central bankers, by a president or prime minister with one or two backroom advisors, by an even less identifiable interlocking of technicians and executives - in ways which are not even formally open to political control.

Eric Hobsbawn (1971: 31)



As it is not a settled question, you must clear your mind of the fancy with which we all begin as children, that the institutions under which we live, including our legal ways of distributing income and allowing people to own things, are natural, like the weather. They are not. Because they exist everywhere in our little world, we take it for granted that they have always existed and must always exist, and that they are self-acting. That is a dangerous mistake. They are in fact transient makeshifts; and many of them would not be obeyed, even by well-meaning people, if there were not a policeman within call and a prison within reach.

George Bernard Shaw (1928: 1)