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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Necrotic Demise of Democracy

Published 7.09.2013

Politics defined

Politics is the process by which groups make decisions. Although the term is generally applied to behavior within governments, politics is observed in all human (and many non-human) group interactions, including corporate, academic, family, clubs, the workplace and religious institutions.


Democracy, as a concept, and it has been shown to be little more, was conceived upon the novel idea that people in a group could make decisions that would benefit the entire, or mostly, of the group thus bringing prosperity when compared to the natural opposite situation. Here the voting members of the polis would poses some form of intrinsic equality.[1] The notion of any form of ‘equality’ has been the subject of debate and many serious failed demonstrations in the years since democracy was condemned by Plato. Indeed, there is no such thing as equality.[2]

Why, then, do we persist in this quest for the unattainable? The answer, simply, is that this quest offers potential powers to those who can persuade those with lesser belligerent attributes to follow them like sheep. Thus, vast power bases can be established where the strong leaders live in splendor while the masses suffer from shortages.[3] Even in the USSR, where the will of the proletariat was deemed supreme, the leaders lived the high life and there was so much wealth it took 74 years to squander it all and stuff a large fraction of that into Swiss banks.[4] Today, Vladimir Putin is reported to be worth $40 bln dollars—a few shekels short of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet but way behind Carlos Slim HelĂș.[5]

Failure, even when backed up with unlimited cash and military firepower seems to lead to a string of failures such as the United States has caused in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and now focusing on Syria. This is not to mention Viet Nam, Cambodia, Philippines, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, with the possible single exception of Japan.

Let us look at the mess in Egypt, an outcome of ‘democracy’ where some side won and attempted to subvert the new constitution to their advantage—a not uncommon theme in politics where voting is a major factor in the game.  The Egyptian Constitution[6] is a convoluted mish-mash of power sharing measures enabled by rubber language and tossed between the elected leader, the military and religious authorities that derive extra powers from  “… defining the “principles of Shariah” in the terms of Muslim Sunni jurisprudence,” whatever that could mean. Ignoring the legal snarls here we can listen to those in the streets and learn that they, at least, thought and think that Morsi was trying to take over the government and force Shariah upon the masses.  We have splendid examples of this in Iran for instance. When we look at the lack of succession of leaders with examples like Nehru, Sadat, Mubarak, now Morsi and their counterparts in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Libya over the many decades it should be clear that, on average, when someone comes to power in the Middle East they seem to stay in power until they die or are ousted.

Extending this to places like the US under the FDR regime, we can see that simply making promises to the masses, who are not encouraged to understand politics, government actions or much else, leads to an ever-increasing collection of power leading, always, to corruption and social unrest.  All that is necessary is to print money and spread it around and make more promises to the Ignoranti who vote blindly for their alms.

Taxation on the Knife’s Edge: The Lower Half Will Always Vote for Higher Taxes[7]

Your vote has no value or worth unless you are lucky to belong to a party where your party is in close competition [in numerical votes discounting fraud and ballot box stuffing, of course].  There, being on the edge forces the opposing parties to pander for your vote in the anticipation you will switch and give one side the majority. This is exclusively factual when two large parties of, say; %49 each compete for votes from a small party of only %2. Here, the smallest fraction of the electorate can exercise enormous power as they can become king makers. If you belong to a very large party with a significant majority you might as well not vote as the party elders will make all decisions. They do not need you and you actually become expendable. You are, collectively, a rubber stamp.


Now, the idea of forcing a regime change seems to relate to the cases where some minority of citizens, or non-citizens for that matter, are being, in their own view, or the view of the leftist media, marginalized and need ‘justice’ or something similar. Syria is a case where some civil war started and sophisticated weapons appeared nearly everywhere to battle the existing government. It is difficult to find where this started in Syria itself and may have originated in Al-Qaeda camp. The flimsy case of the use of chemical weapons, certainly not proven according to the UN and Russia, gives the US the excuse to remedy injustice and prevent war crimes by the fruitful use of military might or the threat thereof.

But, any time there is social unrest leading to revolts, marches and some terrorism or military action the process now must be determined as to who the players are. If they are leftists in rebellion then the left will wander by with slogans and such to support their interests and the same holds for the opposition in each case for the right. Once the political vectors are clearly aligned there is a temptation for the super powers to assassinate or summarily remove or undermine certain leaders if they refuse to cooperate as was the case with Diem, Hussein, Marcos, Quadaffy, Fujimori, Garcia, Salazar, Pinochet, Kai-Shek, Somoza, now  al-Assad  and others. This forces two avenues of supply and resupply of money and weapons from different sides, mostly the USSR and US [from the past], but now also France, the UK and others. The leftist media can be relied upon to support the left or far left in any encounters.

Thus, we have powers, prejudice, religious groups, leftist and right political groups, unions, the military and more to consider how the ballot box yields some choices that conform to any reasonable concept of democracy. Forget it.

[1]  Democracy and Its Critics by Robert A. Dahl, Yale University Press, 1991, 1st ed, 1st printing, p 84 ff.

[2] The Futile Attempt of Forcing Equality among the Masses.

“Cognitive equality is an oxymoron. There is no way you can give standardized tests and ensure that everybody gets the average test grade with nobody getting a higher or a lower test result. The much maligned Bell Curve , sometimes accused of actually causing the ‘problem’ of cognitive mal-distribution in the US, actually states the blunt facts about our societies and the distribution of mental skills. This salient fact that half the people who take the standardized test will score below the median is the rallying point for ‘change’ in ‘education.’  That is not fair. Society must be equalized.  Thus propaganda must replace education. The Bell Curve correctly predicts who will pass high school, college and who will excel in the work place—and who will not—on a group basis. This fact commits millions to menial jobs but is casus belli for the political left.”

[3] USSR, Cuba, North Korea, Rome, the UK, Spain, Portugal and Holland.

[4] Brezhnev family.
[6] The constitution ends Egypt's all-powerful presidency, institutes a stronger parliament, and contains provisions against torture or detention without trial. But it also give Egypt's generals much of the power and privilege they had during the Hosni Mubarak era.[9] Human Rights Watch noted that it provides for basic protections against arbitrary detention and torture and for some economic rights but fails to end military trials of civilians or to protect freedom of expression and religion.[10] The organization also stated that the Chapter II draft, entitled Rights and Freedoms, provides for strong protection against arbitrary detention in article 35 and torture and inhumane treatment in article 36, and for freedom of movement in article 42, privacy of communication in article 38, freedom of assembly in article 50, and of association in article 51, but defers to objections from the country's military leadership and has removed the clear prohibition of trials of civilians before military courts.[10]
Article 2, makes “the principles of Islamic law the main source of legislation,[11]” a statement defining the relationship between Islam and Egyptian law, essentially unchanged from Egypt's old constitution.[12] At the urging of Islamists, another article was added to the constitution strengthening the relationship, defining the “principles of Shariah” in the terms of Muslim Sunni jurisprudence[9] i.e. "evidence, rules, jurisprudence and sources" accepted by Sunni Islam.[13] Liberals fear "Islamic punishments for things like theft, adultery, and blasphemy are not far behind".[11]

[7] Taxation on the Knife’s Edge: The Lower Half Will Always Vote for Higher Taxes.