C. B. Macpherson
Updated: Jan 30
Born: 18 November 1911 Died: 22 July 1987 Nationality: Canadian
C. B. Macpherson was a political scientist who never had world-wide resonance. He grew up in marxist ranks but then he found his political independence. Macpherson focused on democracy issues, writing, for instance, about participatory democracy which was his biggest aim. He also recommended steps to take to achieve this goal and to reinstate the ancient meaning of "direct democracy" (demos-kratos, i.e. people power). People (who - he thought – had a natural capacity and rationality that make them behave in a supportive and positive way) should be enabled to get involved in the decision-making process. Only this way would we be able to change the world and make it a better place. In his opinion, during the transition from indirect democracy to participatory democracy, people could fall into error and produce a vicious circle, but nevertheless he was optimistic about it. And this is what being a great utopian requires. He (or rather, his intellectual legacy) also related this topic to gender equality and eco-sustainability. Macpherson believed that letting people behave in their natural way could make us overcome all the obstacles and all the customs that still segregate women and unconventional personalities in subordinate conditions. With regards to environmental awareness, he thought that the predominance of a democratic-developmental culture would foster an environmentally sustainable lifestyle and could put an end to excessive consumerism. People should deny all their assumptions and attitudes acquired through contact with the current harmful reality and develop their natural abilities, which would inevitably lead them to change their attitudes, in the perspective of peace and development. Macpherson is a great utopian because he was a precursor of change and an innovative personality who showed us the way to build a morally healthier world.