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, May 27, 2010

Flaws of Democracy - by Fjordman

-Those following the news these days cannot avoid noticing that many wealthy democratic nations, from Japan via Britain to the USA, simultaneously suffer from heavy public debt. The fact that this serious problem affects many different countries at the same time indicates that it is systemic. There are probably several reasons for this, but the hypothesis that it is at least partly related to flaws in the democratic system deserves to be taken seriously.

The average person likes to enjoy himself today and ignores potential problems for as long as he can get away with this, allowing them to pile up until they become nearly unmanageable. Given how many difficulties Britain faces because of Multiculturalism and mass immigration from the
Third World, especially Muslim immigration, it is amazing that parties challenging the status quo, such as the UKIP and the BNP, don’t get more votes. No matter how you look at it, well over 90% of the citizens in 2010 more or less freely voted in favor of the continued destruction of Britain. The “Conservatives” no longer constitute a genuine opposition party.

Bruno Waterfield, who has for years been the Brussels correspondent for The Daily Telegraph newspaper, dismisses as fiction the notion that the mainstream political parties in Britain and the West represent competing alternatives. In his view they are all careerists, an empty cadre of more or less left-leaning elite manager-politicians. “Cameron and Clegg could be interchanged, they are identikit managers for a cut-and-paste age without politics. But remember, this anti-political age does not mean the end of choices, such as the Iraq war, bank bailouts or austerity.

It represents the expulsion of alternative points of view, and the public, from the arena. This new British government shows us (yet again) that the starting point for those of us with ideals, those of us who want politics to be contests between alternative ideas, must work outside unrepresentative political parties, parliaments, state institutions and, Clegg’s training ground, the EU.

These are all now institutions that have clearly become about evading or actually removing political choice rather than being an expression of it.”The political system isn’t working properly if good people who genuinely care for their nation’s future cannot get into Parliament, but a Leftist nobody like Nick Clegg can become Deputy Prime Minister.

Yes, I know that the EU has messed things up, and yes, I know that there was a lot of media censorship and election fraud worthy of some Third World countries. Yet at the end of the day, tens of millions of British citizens mindlessly voted for three Leftist parties (the “Conservatives” under David Cameron are not really conservative) that go out of their way to insult them and destroy their country. Numerous individuals make stupid choices, plain and simple.

Far too many are addicted to Socialism and government handouts, both in Greece, the cradle of democracy in the ancient world, and in Britain, the cradle of parliamentary democracy in the modern world. Maybe the best thing Britain can hope for now, if it is going to survive as a nation for native Brits, is an Oliver Cromwell type of person. Democracy of universal suffrage has so far proved itself inadequate at containing the ongoing Third World invasion of the West.

The short-term attention span brought about by brief election cycles hasn’t been good at dealing with long-term threats, economic or otherwise, especially when combined with the dumbing down caused by television and the fact that citizenship and voting rights have been handed out like candy to members of hostile tribes.The USA was specifically designed to be a Constitutional Republic, not a mass democracy.

This arrangement worked well for a long time, yet Americans in 2008 elected an anti-Western Marxist as President. It is a fair bet that their Founding Fathers would have been horrified had they witnessed this. An African Socialist demagogue like Barack Hussein Obama embodies everything they tried to prevent. Perhaps universal suffrage makes a slide to Socialism inevitable, as too many people will vote themselves into possession of other people’s money.

They will gradually grow accustomed to this arrangement and will consider it their “right.”The English essayist El Inglés defines democracy as “an organizational mechanism for allowing parties a) with divergent interests, but who b) wish to function as part of the same polity, to reconcile the divergent interests in a) to such a degree that b) becomes possible.

Having defined democracy in this fashion as a mechanism, I am forced to conclude that it is a means, not an end, and that it therefore possesses no more intrinsic moral value than a truck or a pair of scissors, themselves devices for achieving certain ends.”

He differentiates between democracy-as-ideal and democracy-as-mechanism. Universal suffrage worked for a while in the West because it had a useful role to play in the political needs of these countries, but since then it has been smeared out to include the presence of alien and parasitic tribal cultures.

As El Inglés states, “The scale of the collapse awaiting us in Europe is so vast, and the measures that we will be required to take so severe, that we should be asking ourselves right now what, if anything, can be salvaged of democracy on the other side. It is a sad truth that the existential crisis that Europe has brought onto itself in the form of Islam has not been ameliorated in the slightest bit by democracy as practiced there in the last sixty years.

Enlightened dictatorship has rarely looked better. Whether democracy, in the very long term, is a good idea or not is a question that will be asked more and more frequently in Europe as the crisis worsens. A committed democrat myself, I would like to suggest here that democracy is still just about viable if it is understood rather than romanticized.”

It would be tempting to conclude that we should simply hand power over to the self-professed elites. The problem is that the Western ruling oligarchs are committed Globalists and/or brainwashed Marxists who often make even poorer choices than the masses do. For example, in some cases where the masses made sound decisions, such as the Swiss ban on Muslim minarets or the Dutch rejection of the EU Constitution, the elites have tried to overrule this.

In many cases, the public can be rightfully criticized for making poor choices, but they have also sometimes been betrayed by people they supported who turned out to be very different from what they pretended to be before being elected. Nicolas Sarkozy as French President has disappointed millions of ethnic Frenchmen who voted for him, thinking that he would reverse their country’s slide into poverty and anarchy. As it turns out, he has done virtually nothing to address these issues, but has rather intensified the cultural war waged against the natives.

Mr. Sarkozy apparently cares for nothing other than achieving and maintaining power and the personal privileges associated with this, and will serve any lie necessary in order to do so. If he is the best candidate who can be elected in France then we must conclude that the best isn’t good enough and that France can no longer be saved merely by voting. Tony Blair in Britain was widely popular in the late 1990s during his early years as Prime Minister, yet he arguably did more to hurt his country than any other person in British history. Perhaps mass democracy facilitates the rise of accomplished liars such as Blair, Sarkozy or George W. Bush.

I am personally convinced that a higher degree of political liberty was one of the reasons why Europeans outperformed rival civilizations such as China. Even within Western Europe, Britain had a healthier political culture than did France, followed by other Germanic-speaking Protestants such as the Scandinavians, the Dutch and the Swiss.

I am here referring to Britain as it was in its prime during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Britain in the early twenty-first century is a banana republic on its way to becoming an Islamic republic.The principle of power-sharing within the same ethnic group can be beneficial for political liberty and long-term stability, but democracy of universal suffrage does not guarantee this, nor does the act of voting.

The very minimum a political system must do is to ensure the survival of your nation and the continued existence of you and your kin. If it does not fulfill these criteria then it is useless, regardless of what you call it. Right now, it is hard to argue that Western democracies contribute to the cultural and genetic survival of their majority populations. We need to realize that democracy is a tool to achieve a specific goal, not an end in itself. It is not a bad tool, but perhaps it shouldn’t be the only one we have in our tool box.

The root cause of the Euro Crisis

Much has been written about the Euro sovereign debt crisis. But all the commentators in newspapers have missed an important point. The crisis is at its heart a crisis of democracy.

The Euro Crisis started with Greece running out of money to pay its debts. The EU rallied to lend it money to keep Greece from defaulting. This is with much understandable reluctance from the Germans. Greece had been very naughty. It spent the money to lavish on its people a cushy welfare state where its civil servants retire much earlier than Germans do. It had given false figures to sell its bonds and some say even false figures to get into the EU. Now its debt to GDP ratio has risen to 12.6% when EU rules stipulate 3% at most. But then again, most EU countries failed to follow this rule.

Also according to the rules, each country must keep its finances in order and must not expect others to subsidize their expenditures. So nobody should expect other members to bail them out. But this rule was broken too.

But the fear is that if they don't help Greece out, other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) countries could default on their debt as well. You see, these countries also borrowed to the hilt and banks and investors might not buy their government bonds at an affordable interest rate if they think richer northern countries are not coming to help them. If a large country like Spain defaults, then it would damage the European economy.

Clearly, all these governments have been overspending and over borrowing for many decades. This crisis did not start overnight. So what happened?

Karl Marx once said, 'Democracy is the road to Socialism.' He was wrong on nearly everything but on this occasion he was right. I would also like to add:

'Socialism leads to ruin.'

As I wrote in my previous essays, income distribution does not follow a normal curve but is skewed. In simple language, there are more poor people than rich people. So votrepreneurs (politicians) get votes by promising to transfer wealth from one group of people to another.

That is why all democracies end up with welfare states. So taxation will have to go up to fund all these government expenditures. But there is a limit to how much you can tax. With higher taxes, you get disincentives to work harder or to take risks. Investors would also prefer to invest elsewhere where taxes are lower. Higher income people also prefer to migrate to lower tax jurisdictions. Or some will simply cheat on taxes. This is the explained in the Laffer curve. Economist Arthur Laffer advanced a theory that is beautiful in its simplicity.

If income tax rate is zero, government revenue would also be zero. When you raise income tax rate income will initially rise. But if the income tax rate is 100%, government revenue will also be zero because nobody would want to work. So somewhere in between there is a point where government revenues are maximized. Income tax rates higher or lower than this point will result in lower tax revenues.

In other words, there is a maximum amount governments can squeeze from the taxpayers. If you keep squeezing taxpayers, they will migrate, work less hard, invest less or simply cheat on taxes and you end up with less tax revenues.

But for votrepreneurs to get elected, they keep promising to redistribute wealth. If tax revenues cannot keep up with their promises, then they resort to borrowing. As I explained in my earlier articles, democracies suffer from a serious flaw. Its political leadership is very short term in its thinking. This is not the fault of invidiual politicians but a systemic flaw. If you have elections once every four or five years, you cannot blame the votrepreneurs for not thinking long term. Thus problems are passed on to future leaders.

So they borrow and borrow because they know that when the debts come due, they won't be in office by then and it would be someone else's problem. Thus in every major democracy, you have huge government borrowings. See chart:

So the problem appears to be systemic for the reasons I have stated in this and earlier essays. Democracy leads to Socialism but as Margaret Thatcher once said:

'The Problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.'

That eventuality is happening now across all the developed democracies. Bond investors are begining to wonder how long more can governments postpone paying the bills. But these numbers, horrible as they may be, are not the total liabilities of governments. They do not include promised entitlements like retirement benefits that politicians promised in order to get elected.

According to Jagadeesh Gokhale of the CATO Institute, the public sector debt plus promised social welfare spending such as retirement benefits amount to an average of 434% of GDP for Europe and a whopping 890% for the US. The total government liabilities comprising of actual debt plus politicians' promises are 549% for France, 442% for the UK and 418% for Germany.

This problem is worsened by the fact that birth rates are below replacement level in the developed democracies:

The above picture shows the total fertility rate (births per woman) in Europe. The comparable figure for the US is a still respectable 2.06 and a abysmal 1.2 for Japan. Since all governments are selling long term bonds (as long as 30 years in the case of the US), how are future governments going to repay for their excessive expenditures? Their tax base shrink as there are fewer young workers to pay those taxes.
In the old days, people depended on their children to see to their retirement. There was an incentive for more children and strong family ties. Today, modern societies still need the young to take care of the old. But instead of depending on our own children, we are depending on other people's children, albeit indirectly. The young will pay their taxes to pay for cushy retirement benefits. But raising children takes time and effort and costs money. So lets enjoy ourselves and let someone else do it. In the end, people don't have children or have less than they should.

These debt figures presented above are for current debts owing by the governments. Many of the votrepreneurs' promises are based on the pay-as-you-go system. For example, those working will pay retirement benefits to those who have retired. But with the low birth rates in Europe and Japan, you will soon have a serious problem. There won't be enough workers to pay for the votrepreneur's promises made decades ago. In some countries the projection is that there will one day be one worker to support one retiree. This means that either the worker must be heavily taxed or the retirement benefits and medical care spending will have to drop.

In the case of the Europeans, the votrepreneurs are trying to find a solution to the aging population with Muslim immigrants from North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan. This is a mistake for they bring in an incompatible culture which is likely to cause conflicts into with the native Europeans. Once again, votrepreneurs in democracies cannot see beyond the next elections. I think its far better to get immigrants from South America which has a similar culture.

This game of getting votes by promising one group of voters the money belonging to another will soon collapse. In the following article, my good friend, Fjordman, said that we should look at democracy as a mechanism. That is correct. We need to understand how the mechanism works. Democracy is a mechanism in which votreprenuers (politicians) get elected into office by promising one group of people the money of another group.

But because the law of economics is such that there is a limit to how much tax revenues you can squeeze from the economy, the cost of their promises will soon outstrip the tax revenues. Governments then resort to borrowings which will eventually lead to crisis that we now see in Greece and soon to come to other democracies. The future looks bleak.