There is a collective consciousness in that we all through small choices affect the whole community. For example if everyone chose to drive to their destination just 5 miles slower, then driving would be less of a hassle for the whole community.
Or take for example the human rights violations and greed of billionaires and corporations that we become so angry over: their wealth and power is actually based in our collective community that continues to purchase from them; “we” make them profitable, our purchases empower them.
The collapse of the United States is in reality a product of its own freedoms, through a collective community of individuals that refuse the responsibilities of those freedoms.
Another example is free-speech: individual choices create our media, thus influencing the thinking of the masses. What we educate ourselves with is what we become. When we as individuals, choose to watch media that is counterproductive, then we fund the people that control us, and in return we we get what we pay for.
Or how about capitalism itself: it is the simple idea that you should have the freedom to conduct business without interference from government. But because of collective greed on the part of consumers and individual business owners (all small choices), we end up with the violation of human rights, enslavement to our current monetary system, and the rich become richer and the poor become poorer.
Just like when we were little kids, the power of the monster in the closet only becomes stronger as we give it power. Whether or not a corrupt Wall Street secret society boogie man is ruining democracy, it makes no difference, because in truth, the boogie man is ultimately me and you.
If we as individuals would make small positive choices towards how we consume, what we watch, how we interact with one another, even how we behave on the freeway, then the collective net result would be the improvement of society.
The question then becomes will mankind balance liberty with responsibility? Logically we prefer stability and ease above pain and consequence… but if we choose indifference, the result will inevitably be the loss of our liberty. Democracy is ultimately a collection of individuals following personal conscience. Hence, your choices determine the fate of our society.