De Mockery of
young friend Kamil sent me the following assignment question, asking
for some viewpoints from me. I figured my response to Kamil was worth
archiving in my Wordfile, and here it is... :-)
It has been said that
democracy may not be the perfect form of goverment but it is better than
To what extent do you agree?
Certain assumptions are being
made here that may be inaccurate or incorrect, So before we can answer
the question, let's examine what these assumptions are.
Assumption #1: Democracy exists and is practised in
In truth democracy is purely
theoretical. Even in old Athens where it was invented, there was only
democracy up to a point - beyond which one could get arrested for
subversion, imprisoned, and end up drinking hemlock. The state is
forever jealous of its authority and power, and will not hesitate to
use force if persuasion fails. In so-called democratic countries, we
find that the public is led to believe it has freedom of choice - but
in actuality that freedom does not extend beyond the most trivial
matters (like the make of car you drive or the scent your date
prefers). In all crucial areas decisions are made by "backroom boys"
acting on behalf of a tiny handful of plutocrats (people who own banks,
newspapers, TV stations, bomb factories, armies, spy agencies, and
The machinery of political power
is driven by popular votes. However, elections can be rigged, conducted
on an uneven playing field, and stolen outright. Voters can be bought,
hoodwinked, disenfranchised or overlooked completely. Because "majority
opinion" is measured quantitatively, human destiny can be jeopardized
or hijacked by a corrupt and dishonest clique willing to take
extraordinary risks. The proverbial man-in-the-street doesn't stand a
chance against a cartel of well-funded criminals, who obtain their
money through illicit means and buy up all the airspace. He can't be
heard against a well-coordinated media blitz.
In effect, scratch a modern
democracy and you'll find mobster rule. Robber barons and pirate kings
now come with a slick corporate image and very expensive tailoring. But
gangsterism is gangsterism, and privilege actually means "private law."
So when even the law is privatized, is it any wonder that justice is
Democracy originally meant
"popular rule" - in effect, government of the people, by the people,
for the people. Which sounds pretty similar to Marxist/socialist
ideals. However, you only have to have the means of influencing the
collective psyche to make the people believe they are exercising their
democratic rights when all they can do is predictably react to
Assumption #2: Though imperfect democracy is "better
"Better" is a very vague term and
begs redefinition. This dish is good but that one is better... in
reality the other dish is simply different. You cannot compare
pheasant-under-glass with a hamburger. Each recipe works in a specific
context. In other words, a fair comparison is hinted at
where none is possible.
Assumption #3: The word "alternatives" implies Communism.
A popular misconception is that
the opposite of democracy is communism. Actually, it's dictatorship
we're talking about: what's antagonistic to popular rule is state
despotism - whether the despot is a single individual or a faceless
committee. The alternative to democracy might also be monarchy - or
various spin-offs like aristocracy, meritocracy, or plutocracy.
Nevertheless, there are no clear-cut categories of power. If we have an
absolute monarch who is approachable, open-minded, empathetic, humble,
friendly, and wise - let's take as an example the notion of a "King of
Kings" like Jesus the Christ, or Aragorn of Arathorn in J.R.R.
Tolkien's ringlore - the public may actually enjoy great freedom and
security, prosperity and success under such benevolent and enlightened
rule. As opposed to the situation where a supposedly democratic
government functions under the secret orders of an invisible
brotherhood of black magicians and decadent junior gods: people would
endure increasing oppression and never know who exactly is taking away
their freedoms and rights, life just seems to get rougher and tougher
all the time.
The concept of government itself
needs to be reassessed. An individual with sufficient inner discipline
can be described as a Self-Governing Individual who does not subscribe
to or support any form of external government. When enough such
individuals emerge in a community, it's possible that anarchy will
blossom in a wholesome and workable way where each member of the
community cooperates with the others consciously, willingly, and
wholeheartedly. Imagine the amount of creativity generated by humans no
longer engrossed in destructivity or obsessed with conformity and
One can view government as an
unwelcome intrusion - akin to a high fence built around the crest of
hill to prevent people from rolling down through carelessness. In
trying to ensure "public safety" what government effectively does is
disempower and desensitize.
After a few generations, people would become incapable of taking any
initiative whatsoever, in a sure-footed way. They will NEED official
guidelines, clearly-marked trails, and instructions at every turn. In
effect, people would no longer be able to sit quietly atop the hill and
gain divine inspiration from the beauty around them – because the
man-made “security” fence mars the view and is ugly, that is, a
violation of the natural environment and the unwritten laws of harmony.
This may suit those in power very nicely, but it invariably
incapacitates the masses from independent and original thought. They
will become blind and allow themselves to be led around by ravenous
wolves disguised as professional seeing-eye dogs.
What would be much "better than"
democracy would be an evolutionary quantum jump that would effectively upgrade
Consciousness and Intelligence and realign them with Compassion. No amount of theorizing
can make this happen. Those of us who realize this simply have to
embody our ideals and break free of semantic traps such as the question
above. No statistics are required. It only takes ONE individual to
crack the code - and before long, not only the entire species, but all
lifeforms will regain their primordial freedom.
9 March 2005