Abusing democracy

Governments should be instituted to help communities perform all the functions of civil society without fear of injustice and subjugation by external powers or internal special interests.  They should not exist to do it for communities.  Furthermore they cannot be allowed to pursue their own ends.  As Milton Friedman wisely observed (paraphrased): “It’s become impossible to elect the ‘right’ people, therefore we need to create an environment where the wrong people are forced to do the ‘right’ thing.”[1]

Under liberal reign the western systems of democracy have become a parody of what should be.  Having fought for the universal franchise and removed many of the old corruptions hampering the emergence of democracy, the West, with the exception of Switzerland, assumed its system of representative government was (and is) democracy.  It is not! It cannot prevent those with the will to power (the liberal-corporate elite) tailoring electoral and governmental processes to serve their own interests.  The people, who are supposed to be democracy’s ‘upper house’ can do little more than use their vote to stamp the ticket of a political party that is little different from any other political party.  Party politics severely diminishes real democracy. Having ticked the box on election day the people find themselves relegated, as usual, to the also-rans. Powerlessness, in the face of politicians, their bureaucrats, regulation, political correctness, media political complicity and the cost-gated nature of the judicial process, leaves people with little power to influence anything - other than complain, wave placards and beat noisily on doors.  The liberal-corporate agenda is rolled out year after year in a seemingly unstoppable fashion.  The rise of the European Union commanded by unelected Eurocrats and the concentration of power in the U.S. and other western political establishments are obvious examples   

Political parties are generally cloned from the same liberal vine, even when they call themselves conservative, Christian democrat or republican.  It is more often than not impossible for an individual to stand in their own right.  Unless there is a party machine and large financial donors behind them they stand little chance.  One has to join the elitist political party clubs and tug forelocks to get anywhere.  Absolute loyalty to the ruling elite is non-negotiable. Under liberalism government for the people by the people has become government over the people and despite the people. Don’t forget, the corporate elite delight in this state of affairs.  Corporations exist to serve the interests of shareholders and senior executives alone.  The public good is only good for business when it has no effect on the bottom line.  Even board elections, like so called democratic general elections, draw on a pool of like-minded people.  There really is no substantive choice.  In the US it takes millions of dollars to get elected to congress, but the rewards are great.  Once an ‘office’ has been acquired it is easy to stay there for life. The people have very limited alternatives, are conditioned to support one party over another and settle for the devil they know.

Our autocratic elites make very sure there is little scope to change or challenge this situation.  They pander to the lower and dependent classes, by taxing others, to give to them.  This is a craven and transparent vote securing exercise and it works well. They also do their best to maintain an iron-like grip over the media and all levels of education to condition people to accept their corrupted version of democracy and policy are the only options. So called conservatives are only so to the extent that they champion less government and balanced budgets.  Little else separates them from liberalism, or global market neo-liberalism. As is the case with the western malaise generally, the fixes are reasonably obvious, quite straightforward and easy to implement.  The great tragedy is the brainwashed state of the populous and the limited consumer-worker world they are conditioned to accept.  Remember Edward Bernays’ pernicious conception?

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.[2] 

 Mass entertainments, reminiscent of the Roman blood sports, are used to give the people’s thin-world condition some gaudy colour.  They have become the people’s opiate. Even when the people are allowed to rise above all of this to vote in national referenda and call for their will to be followed, their cry is often ignored.  In my country referenda on important issues have been held, after various resolute people have courageously managed to climb the hurdles deliberately put in their way by government.  In every case the outcome of the each referendum has been ignored and the people, with little choice on offer, must resign themselves to powerlessly continue to trudge the treadmill of near pointless elections.  In Europe France and the Netherlands voted in referenda against the EU’s power-grabbing centralisation.  Undeterred the Euro-Nazis carried on and expanded the EU’s powers and reach anyway.  The EU commission makes all the decisions and laws governing Europe with next to no oversight by the people, who do not even get to elect them. For all intents and purposes democracy in Europe is dead.  It has been replaced by an oligarchy who arrogantly believe a small coterie of ‘experts’ should decide what is best for everyone. The only national referendum that have been followed was the Scottish vote to remain part of Great Britain.  But, this was a special class of referendum that could not be ducked by politicians.  It is to be hoped the UK’s EU exit referendum, held in June 2016, which saw the British people voting to leave the EU, will be honoured. If the UK does cut its ties to Europe it may have a flow on effect and prove to be a turning point in the resurrection of the West’s democratic progress.

The contrast between the EU and Switzerland exposes how bad living under liberal socialism can become.  The EU is anti-democratic, allows little commercial completion and buries most people in restrictive regulation.  Economies across the EU are moribund, debt is extremely high and some nations are verging on collapse. In Switzerland, which exists independent of the EU, the situation is quite the reverse. It has an advanced democratic system that puts the people in charge, through its system of referenda.  There is little regulation and the economy is correspondingly strong.  Unemployment is low, GDP is well above EU member states and work force participation rates are therefore much better. Taxes are low, there is high income equality and the Swiss enjoy better incomes.[3]

Outside Switzerland democracy’s march stalled about the middle of last century.  Getting it back on track would not be difficult if the will was there.  The range of fixes available will be covered in Part Four.  In essence government has to be comprised of people who are not clones of party political machinery and are not subject to ‘whipping systems’ and caucus solidarity conventions; nor should they be able to treat government as a career choice.  Each representative must actually stand autonomously for the people they seek to represent and they must remain individually accountable to those people for a limited period of service before stepping down.  The independence and impartiality of the media must be closely scrutinised and corrections implemented when necessary. Real democracy does not need an in-for-life liberal or conservative priesthood, supported by media propaganda.  It needs people who see democracy as a means to become servants of the people, while making the people the kings and queens of their own fate.

Liberal-corporatists loath real democracy.  They belittle people in classically Nietzsche-like terms as the herd animal or mob, unfit to govern themselves and order their own lives in co-operation with each other. The liberal-corporate ruling class think of people as children who must be cosseted in safety, reprimanded and re-conditioned if they step out of line.  They must be kept in a perpetual Toynbee Effect state, to ensure they never turn their attention to matters that only their masters should touch.[4] Never have our elected representatives been so divorced from the realities of every-day life.  Few have ever worked in the real world for any length of time, or made a meaningful contribution to communities, other than to exercise their insatiable will to power and Libermania over everyone else.

The whole party political scene is reminiscent of corrupted Roman government under many of the Caesars.  The parties no longer represent a political constituency within the general public but a special class of self-promoters.  Corporations fund this class through donation, gifts and back-handers in return for political favours.  Donald Trump in his campaign for the U.S. presidency openly acknowledged that ‘getting along’ with politicians was all part of doing business.  For a detailed examination of the party political elite in the U.K. invest in Peter Oborne (Ibid, 2014): The Triumph of the Political Class.  Parallels with the ruling class in other western nations will be apparent.

[1] I may quote Friedman here, but that does not mean I subscribe to his economic philosophy where it crosses into the neo-liberalism he promoted.

[2] Propaganda (1928).

[3] The You Tube film Brexit: The Movie is recommended.  It presents the case for the UK exiting the EU.

[4] Peter Oborne’s 2014 book, The Triumph of the Political Class, is the go-to work on the character of the now ruling elite - in the U.K.