The Illusion Of Democracy

Someone once defined a “fool” as a person who keeps responding to the same situation in the same way, expecting a different result. Perhaps the best illustration of this infirmity is found, every two years, in the system known as voting, wherein millions of people are induced to go the polls and vote for candidates who keep promising to carry out the unfulfilled promises they made in the previous election!1

Occasionally in these corrupt, degenerate, upside-down times there are political elections we are expected to take part in. We are supposed to do our “duty as citizens of the free democratic world” and “defend our way of life”. Against what is never properly defined. It is typical that the word ‘our’ is used in order to drag everyone down to the same level. Is it really my way of life and is it really my duty to defend it? What am I actually asked to defend? If we really have freedom of choice should I not be free to choose not to defend something I can’t even say I wanted? If I decide not to take part in the democratic process and not vote, instantly accusations come flying that I’m not “doing my duty”, or that I’ve resigned and therefore have no right to comment and even less, to complain. They tell me it is the most passive thing not to vote and imply that because of that I’m somehow morally corrupt.
But if I really want a change; if I would really want to do something about the situation what else could I do in an upside-down world than to abstain from voting? Is it not my “democratic right”? If we live in an upside-down world, is not what is considered “active” in reality “passive” and vice versa?

What is democracy?

Most people think of democracy as being “good”. It represents everything which most people consider valuable and precious. The modern mass media uses democracy as a label for ideas, values and principles they consider “right”. Often one sees and hears people say things like “it is my democratic right”, or “it is everyone’s democratic duty” – to vote, for example. “Sound democratic values” is another cryptic expression often used by everyone from world leaders and influencial businessmen to journalists and ordinary people. No one ever questions or defines these vague expressions. We all are expected to “know” what is understood by them – not only that, but we all are expected to have the exact same understanding of them.

But are all points above really what democracy is?

No. The things mentioned above are all relative values and vague or non-existent definitions given the word democracy by the people using them in this fashion.

Democracy is a form of government. It has no intrinsic value. Moreover, democracy is the rule of “the people”. At least “the people” like to think so. But who are the people? Are they really qualified to rule and if so, by what authority are they qualified to rule? Who do the rule over? Themselves?

The fact is that the people can never rule, be it in a democracy or any other form of government. The people are incapable of ruling. The people are always the ruled in any form of government. In a democracy the people delegate their power to a representative who is supposed to represent their interests. In other words, the people surrender – give up their power over themselves to another person. How likely is it that that person is going to represent the voter instead of himself and his own interests? How likely is it that the voter’s interests and the interests of the voter’s political representative are identical?

  1. A Holiday For Fools by Butler Shaffer []
, by Kartavirya This entry was posted in Metapolitics. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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  • By Iluze „demokracie” « Hrdost on November 29, 2012 at 17:23 pm

    […] *** K tématu: C. Z. Cordeanu: Několik připomínek k demokracii ***  Překlad článku The Illusion Of Democracy publikovaném na webu Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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  • Just as the Buddha said: “I speak unto them whose eyes are covered but with little dust.” Covered but only a little. That is to say, he does not speak unto them whose eyes are totally covered with dust, and not unto them whose eyes are not covered at all.


    - András Lászlo