Dynamics between civic expression and state paternalism during the COVID-19 pandemic
Keywords:Democracy, Pandemic, Kavolis Vytautas, Civic expression
What is the meaning of democracy during a pandemic? Do civic liberties and their active practice encourage consensus-building for countering the pandemic, or do they, on the contrary, disrupt the system by overburdening it with excessive interest-based demands? Recalling some chrestomathic truths and based on recent research, the article shows that such opposition is irrelevant and that the misunderstanding stems from different conceptions of democracy and their practical realization. Analyzing the most typical forms of public and government behavior in the context of a pandemic, the article presents the emerging concepts of democracy. Evidence suggests that despite the absolute majority of society leaning in favor of democracy the pandemic revealed the differences between proponents of narrow conceptions and proponents of broad conceptions of democracy and their rather different practical impact on an individual’s quality of life. It has become clear that a more active and trusting segment of the population, giving priority to democracy, tends to be more self-protective and self-reliant, with a state of subjective emotional well-being that in a crisis has suffered less; meanwhile, the more passive, less confident segment, giving priority to a strong leader, is less inclined to self-protection and to independence, with a state of subjective emotional well-being that has suffered more.