Democracy Reform

Sir Winston Churchill once said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest. He is right. Its the best form of government but it also has its flaws. I think that its flaws endanger democracy and needs to be fixed. This blog is for like minded people who want to see democracy improved. I invite people to sumbit essays. I will publish even those I do not agree with so long as I find them interesting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spiegel Interview with Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew

In an interview with Singapore's founder, Lee Kuan Yew, an answer to a question is relevent to this blog.

SPIEGEL: During your career, you have kept your distance from Western style democracy. Are you still convinced that an authoritarian system is the future for Asia?
Mr. Lee: Why should I be against democracy? The British came here, never gave me democracy, except when they were about to leave. But I cannot run my system based on their rules. I have to amend it to fit my people's position. In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Supposing I'd run their system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them. So I found a formula that changes that...

Lee has pointed out a weakness of Democracy which I highlighted in my first essay, Democracy needs a Reformation.

Votrepreneurs (politicians) will pose as champions of their ethnic groups and defend them against real or imagined threats, making democracy difficult or perhaps impossible. For democracy to work, you need a more homogenous population with the same race, language and religion. The west had since the end of the Second World War, largely homogenous populations making it easy for democracy to function.

But with the flood of immigrants coming in, I forsee tensions arising especially in Europe but less so in America. Race, language and religion are three sources of identity. If an immigrant has all three that are different from the host population, then assimilation is more difficult than another immigrant who has one thing different.

The immigrants the Europe are accepting tends to be from North Africa or Pakistan. They are of a different race, a different language and a different religion. America is fortunate in that their immigrants are mostly Hispanics and only differ in terms of language. So for them, assimilation only requires that the Hispanics give up Spanish and adopt English.

The Europeans are out of luck. A large component of their immigrants are Muslims who have a poor track record of assimilating and are being radicalized by a militant strain of Islam.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Another great Actor

Like Jim McGreevey, Larry Craig is another great actor.

Larry was arrested in a Mineapolis airport toilet for allegely trying to solicit sex from a undercover police officer. Larry is a conservative Republican who has been against gay marriages. So it turns out that he is likely to be gay himself. Larry has vigorously denied he is gay and his family is standing by him.

His kids believe him, but will
the voters?

He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct but is now trying to undo his guilty plea. This would weaken the Republican Party further because it would damage its appeal to conservative workers.

Party leaders want him to go for precisely this reason. For Larry to win elections, he must reflect the values his voters expect. This includes the need to be straight because most people are straight and there is still a stigma to being gay. So in the end, a honest votrepreneur (politician) being himself is probably unelectable.

He or she has to present himself to the public an image that the public wants to see. If the people in his state are conservative, he has to be conservative even if he is not. If they are liberals, he has to be a liberal even if in his heart he is not. They system seems geared to eliminate the honest and elect the best actors.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Doing the right thing spells electoral defeat.

In a link sent to me by Scandinavian blogger, Fjordman, Luxemburg´s prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker said:

"We all know what we need to do, but we don´t know how to win elections after we have done it."

Juncker has candidly pointed out one weakness of democracy. This is what I am trying to get at in my blog. In my earlier article, Democracy needs a Reformation, I pointed out that it is difficult to inflict short term pain to achieve long term gain.

Politicians do not have the luxury of planning more than four or five years ahead. Under pressure of winning the next elections, the policies achieve the opposite - short term gain in exchange for long term pain. But of course, they won't be in office then.

A study on how beneficial economic reforms affected the electoral prospects of the incumbent votrepreneurs (politicians)concluded that the incumbent ruling parties lost an average of 23% of the votes.

If as Juncker said, votrepreneurs cannot do what they know is right to win elections, then you will do what is wrong. That is why most democracies are ineffective.