Saturday, April 24, 2010
Democracy is NOT 50% + One !!!
Somebody wrote on a democracy forum I read that monarchy has passed away. Monarchy has not passed away. This in spite of the best efforts of a couple of revolutionary republics and a couple of communist empires. The common view, especially popular in the American psyche, is that democracy & a vote are the same thing. I would argue that that is generally more like the tyranny of the majority. Democracy, as far as I am concerned is a society where every member has the best chance to pursue happiness in an environment of freedom, restricted only to protect his/her fellow citizen's freedoms. Absolute monarchy has almost passed away. Dictatorships do continue to pop up around the world, absolute monarchs by a different name. Some, it seems are hereditary, Syria for instance. As long as they don't call themselves royal they are palatable to America, France, China & Russia. It seems that "legitimacy" by virtue of military repression is acceptable as long as it comes with useful foreign policy & foreign investment regulations. Only when that falls short do the "great powers" start to grumble. All their talk of freedom & democracy. The only freedom that interests them is the freedom for their cronies to exploit fellow citizens and foreign populations. The only franchise in these countries is wealth, not the rights of mankind to equal opportunity & expression. I would suggest that the so called "democractic" experiment spawned by the enlightenment is as much a failed experiment as the communist experiment. America's dogged insistence on it's system as the only correct system not only endangers the development of freedom around the world but retards development of true freedom in America. 50% plus one is not the same as democracy! Legitimacy of authority is based on the consent of the people, not on the basis of one type of selection process. The arrogance of one community or system of thought to point fingers at everyone else as inferior is tedious. Especially tedious when discussing democracy and freedom of expression. It is for this reason that I am concerned about the sole reliance on the ballot as the only mode of legitimacy. I'm suggesting that to protect the interests of minorities in a society, there must be a mixture of selection processes for the components of government. For instance... hereditary monarch, elected assembly, appointed house. The details of how each of these groups is selected and for what purpose is unique to each society. The monarch represents all the people. The elected assembly represents the majority view and initiates legislation on behalf of all. The appointed body represents all identifiable groups equally to protect minority interests and has at least first veto on any legislated initiative. That is the best chance I see at true democracy. Wait a minute, I've seen this system around the world already. It's called constitutional monarchy and many countries to this day use it in some form. This type of system was not imposed overnight like the revolutionary regimes of the world. It evolved over centuries and is organic enough to evolve today, (an evolution that is overdue in Canada, Australia & Britain, by the way). To the best of my knowledge American republicanism has only been used by one other country since 1776. Even most people who have republics choose a parliamentary system similar to the system in a constitutional monarchy. Their presidents & prime ministers often build competing power bases that are obstructionist and expensive to national progress. Sometimes one of the two offices is irrelevant and therefore a waste of money. Austria elected a former Nazi as president but nobody really noticed because his office was easily ignored. A monarch in that position wouldn't create any more trouble, be properly trained, maybe facilitate confidential dialogue between different political camps and actually save millions every few years with no presidential elections. Monarchy has not passed away but I wish it was more prevalent.