History of the Institut

The Institut pour la démocratie was founded in Paris in 1986 to help better understand the origins of the deficiencies of the French political system and identify the remedies liable to put the country back on track. Given that a number of its inhabitants had doubts as to the democratic character of the regime, the aim was to take into account the latest findings of political research in order to measure, so to speak, the gaps between theory and practice.

This approach had been made possible since a research director at the C.N.R.S., historian, philosopher and sociologist Jean Baechler, the principal disciple of Raymond Aron, had published a work of reference entitled Démocraties (ed. Calmann-Lévy, 1985). Because a general theory may be drawn from the observation of political life throughout time and the history of mankind is known at last, enabling us to consider the latter as a laboratory, it is possible to demonstrate why democracy is the regime naturally suiting the human species. Moreover, archeology gives the means to check that its rules were abided by in paleolithic ages, before the situation deteriorated with the emergence, in a second phase of history, of kingdoms and empires.

The mainsprings of democracy eventually cropped up again from the depths of the European society in the Middle Ages. This had nothing to do with Ancient Greece : they were released again by the feudal contact, a phenomenon also observed in Japan. The so-called democratic regimes are therefore the products of both empiricism and the slow evolution of the institutions over a thousand years, notwithstanding some brutal accelerations. It was necessary to wait until dysfunctions appeared in contemporary regimes, however, for the democratic model to eventually stand out in broad daylight in all its rationality, validated by experience and also by the use of finer concepts and analysis tools allowing to give a more precise account of reality.

Since it had become possible to drastically overhaul the case of France, the Institut pour la démocratie in 2011 published the book entitled Relever la France, les dix remèdes [Raising France again, the ten remedies], the teachings of which can apply to most countries. The work of reflection on the necessity to incorporate major philosophical principles in the best possible way into institutions under domestic law delineates the domain of political engineering, of which the Institut pour la démocratie has become one of the pioneers. Armed with a measurement device, contemporary countries will be able to accelerate their democratic mutation, all the more so since the citizens will at last have the keys to the worldwide system at their disposal. This mutation, however, will never be totally achieved, since perfection is beyond mankind’s reach.