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.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Democracy not working - essay by Fjordman

Currently, the democratic system is in my view not working properly in any Western country. It is more or less dead in Western Europe, where most of the real power has been transferred to the unelected organs of the European Union, anyway. Virtually all Western countries have lost control over their borders. This is not a sustainable situation. You can call your political system a democracy, a dictatorship, a republic, a monarchy or whatever you want, but a country that does not control its territory will eventually die. It's inevitable.The situation is made worse by the fact that globalization of transportation has put severe pressure on our nations in a manner which was unthinkable only a few decades ago. When the first Christian Gospels were written down at the end of the first century AD, the population of the Roman Empire was about 60 million people. This mirrors the annual global population growth in the early twenty-first century. In other words: The global population grows by another Roman Empire every single year. Our system wasn't designed for such numbers. It needs fundamental change, or it will soon collapse into civil wars or dictatorships or both. We also have a situation where some left-wing parties in particular deliberately import Muslims and others because they vote overwhelmingly for left-wing parties. A political system where it pays to import enemies obviously isn't sustainable.When I criticize democracy, this should not be taken as an indication that I believe in elitist rule. I criticize it because it clearly doesn't automatically ensure freedom of speech and security for life and property, which is the hallmark of true liberty. Another problem is that it isn't always the best system for long-term decisions because people tend to prefer short-term gains. I still believe, however, that there should be a powerful element of real public influence, to curtail the potential for absolute rulers and abuse of power. We have clearly veered too far in the direction of the latter with the EU, where the ruling elites have skillfully eliminated any constraints on their power.The democratic system has significant flaws, but it worked to some extent as long as there was sense of being a demos, a people with a shared identity and common interests. What we are witnessing now is the gradual breakdown of this demos, starting from the top down. Powerful groups frequently have more in common with the elites in other countries than they have with the average citizen in their own. If you no longer believe in your nation as a real entity with a specific culture, it simply becomes a tool for obtaining power, a stepping stone for your global career. Without a pre-political loyalty, emotional ties or even a pragmatic interest in supporting nation states, the democratic system becomes a vehicle for distributing favors to your friends at home and abroad, for fleecing the voters while in power and hopefully ensuring a lucrative international career along the way. You will have few moral inhibitions against importing voters from abroad for maintaining power or because your business buddies who give you financial support desire it. This process is related to technological globalization, but it has gone further in the self-loathing West than in any other civilization.Average citizens who still identify with their nation states thus keep electing people who betray their trust. Since the elites identify little with the nations they are supposed to serve, more power to them will only make matters worse, as it already has in Europe. Corrupt and incompetent individuals will always exist. If you get a corrupt leader every now and then you are dealing with a flawed individual. If you constantly, again and again, get corrupt leaders you are dealing with a flawed system. Our political system is now deeply flawed. The problem is that I cannot easily see how to fix it.The most important thing to realize is that democracy is a tool, a means we use to achieve an end. Too many people now confuse it with the end itself. "Democracy" has come to mean something that is good, something everybody wants, a bit like sex or chocolate. But there is no rational reason to assume that democracy of universal suffrage is uniformly good and can be applied with equal success in all circumstances, a huge mistake Americans made in Iraq.Any political system must first and foremost ensure the survival, the continued physical existence, of the community it serves. After that comes ensuring the prosperity and liberty of this community in the best possible way. However, when I look at the situation in Western countries today, I cannot see that democracy always ensures our liberty or prosperity, and in many cases it functions so poorly that it threatens our very survival. Perhaps in order to ensure our continued existence, we need to supplement democracy with other tools in our toolkit.

2 Comments:

At 10:33 AM, Blogger GoingNowhere said...

This is a brilliant criticism, and one that touches on some ideas I have had and expands it. The democratic paradox, which has been seen quite often, is that the people can vote in a dictatorship and abolish the very very democracy that put it in place. I wish I had the ability to elaborate and solve this problem with this comment, but thank you for raising awareness.

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger Ohmyrus said...

You have brought up an interesting point. Please elaborate some more.

 

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