Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Again on democracy

What really surprised me about comments on my previous post was that pro-democracy commentators were so emotional. It was like “How dare you! Democracy brings only peace and prosperity”. Actually the idea that democracy is a hopelessly flawed model of government is not original. The fact that conflict and confrontation is embedded in Western democratic model is not mine. Actually John Locke – the ideological father of American Constitution – was the first to describe it. His system of checks and balances is a proposed method to soften the confrontational nature of democracy.

Did you sleep when you had “Anti-democracy theories” class at school? Ah, I forgot. You never study anti-democracy theories at school. In the best case you heard about some “evil” theorists who deny democracy. In the West democracy became a totalitarian dogma the same way as Marxism in the Soviet Union. The difference is that at school you study democratic vision of history and politics but in the Soviet Union I studied the same subject from the Marxist point of view. You believe that the only alternative to democracy is tyranny but I was taught that the only alternative to the Soviet-type socialism is oppressive imperialism. The difference between us: you believe in myths about democracy but I didn’t believe in myths about communism.

I still cannot understand how a rational person can believe that a purely technical model of government can be a moral ideal to struggle for? From the ethical point of view democracy is neutral but “democratization” is evil. Democracy can be a working model only under very specific conditions and the most important among them is – ultra-high level of homogeneity in ethical values, culture, religion, distribution of income. The society is ready for democracy when it is very, very average. This way the tyranny of majority is not regarded as oppressive. When there’s little homogeneity democracy provokes and encourages secessionism, segregation, discrimination of minorities and ultimately civil wars. A country needs several hundred years of applying different kinds of checks and balances, development of civil society, recognition of minorities’ rights, suffrage, etc. They are all measures to push a fundamentally flawed model into a stable condition. There is also another way to make democracy work – occupy the country and kill all “anti-democrats” but still even under such conditions homogeneity is a must. Lack of homogeneity can kill even a very stable democracy. What will become to France when Muslims make 51% of voters?

Let us make a mental experiment. Imagine that the modern day American government with the help of a time machine got access to America at the beginning of the 19th century. After shaking hands with the Founding Fathers what would be the next thing for George Bush and his Marines to do? Of course, democratizing the young US by installing a modern day American model of democracy, including equal rights for women and black slaves and freedom of speech (with pornography). Would we get a civil war at this point?

For those interested in serious anti-democracy theories and alternatives to democracy I recommend “Democracy: the God that Failed” by Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

11 comments:

Lucifer's Angel said...

Hello once again! In my reply to your previous post, I mentioned Singapore. Singapore and Switzerland are two countries where there is a peaceful democracy AND ethnic differences. Each is a different democracy, and in each of the countries the harmony was achieveed via different methods: propaganda (that isn't always a negative word) of a harmonious society and strict punishments for any racist movements in Singapore and they way of compromise and accomodation in Switzerland.

Or look at our motherland: in the first few of her democratic years there were skinheads and nationalists (remember PHE on cemented walls of Hrush'ovki?). Now, however, such gangs have almost died out. We have Russian rap and so many people are beginning to like it (I personally like it much more than the American 'genuine' rap, but the reasons are off-topic). There are so many Georgians, Osetins and other people from the Kavkaz region who have settled in cities all over Russian. The Chinese are literally invading Primorskyi Krai - where is the conflict you are talking about?
Anyway, imo, while Democracy may somewhat contribute to a racial or religious divide within a country, the genuine reason for such a divide is not so much the freedom the democracy created, but rather the false ideas induced upon us by nationalists. It is only our choice whether to buy these ideas, or to have a mind of our own. It seems that our fellow Russians have made the right choice.

Vladimirs said...

"Singapore and Switzerland are two countries where there is a peaceful democracy AND ethnic differences."

Singapore is the smallest nation in Asia. Switzerland, despite being one of Europe's smallest nations (~7.5 million population) is divided into 26 states, each of which has it's own constitution, government, laws and courts.

"Or look at our motherland: in the first few of her democratic years there were skinheads and nationalists (remember PHE on cemented walls of Hrush'ovki?). Now, however, such gangs have almost died out."

They're still there.

"There are so many Georgians, Osetins and other people from the Kavkaz region who have settled in cities all over Russian. The Chinese are literally invading Primorskyi Krai - where is the conflict you are talking about?"

Are you living on the moon? No one cares about Ossetians in Russia because Ossetia is part of the Russian Federation. However, illegal migrants from China, Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Central Asian states are the biggest domestic problem in Russia right now.

On that topic, you really have to ask yourself - if Georgians finally got their democracy (or at least that's what George Bush tells me), why are they so desperate to live in Russia? I mean, evil KGB agent Putin got elected and they don't have a democracy (or at least that's what George Bush tells me).

Blair Sheridan said...

In partial response to the previous comment (from the Georgian Messenger):

http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/1175_august_17_2006/eco_1175_3.htm

Thursday, August 17, 2006, #155 (1175)

Remittances increase
By M. Alkhazashvili

In the first half of 2006, Georgians living outside the country sent almost USD 220 million back home. In the same time period last year, the figure was around USD 145 million. Experts ascribe this to a simple increase in Georgians working abroad. USD 147 million came in from Russia, by far the largest origin of remittances. From USA, a total of USD 21 million was sent to Georgia, and USD 7 million from Greece. In winter, USD 101 million was transferred; in spring USD 117 million.

Lucifer's Angel said...

You see, as Blair pointed out, Georgians and therefore many other nationalities live in Russia and even send millions abroad to their respective home countries. Since this is official, most of the Russians should know about it. Why then is there such religious peace (more or less, compared to 1990s)? I believe this is because the quality of life of many Russians has improved (especially those who live in major cities) and they have no reason to raise the tension. And there is music, no matter the genre, which often advocates respect to other races. Are these the only reasons we see an improvement in this area in Russia?

doll said...

Nice exchange of thoughts but it is too closely focused. o?

jin said...

'Did you sleep when you had “Anti-democracy theories” class at school?'

Heh, I hardly remember what they were saying back then. Oh, it crossed my mind: they said in school we were the peoples democracies in the East and in the West they had imperialists in power :)

We even had ellections. Unfortunatelly the candidates were all from the same party. Not much of a debate there.

ambarwarrior said...

I think a Greek philosppher said that Democracy is a form of tyranny LONG before John Locke said anything.

Cyrill said...

All psychobabble aside, democracy is quite simply a concept of popular governance. How it is implemented depends on limitations of a given society. It can be very limited like Athens, a bit less limited as in Roman Republic or take any other form throughout the ages. That limitation depends on the level of societal coercion over individual interests. Developed capitalism provides economic foundation for democracy in the form of conflicting interests of individual private owners of means of production. In underdeveloped societies like contemporary Russia, levels of economic and cultural coercion preclude from anything other than “managed democracy” or its new incarnation as Surkov’s "sovereign democracy" - the same old half baked excuse for authoritarian rule. Democracy will always fail when huge portions of the population depend on government wages and handouts, since individual interests that otherwise would be its foundation are superseded by interests of the state via centralized econonomy, culture, religion and ideology.

California college information said...

Hello once again! In my reply to your previous post, I mentioned Singapore. Singapore and Switzerland are two countries where there is a peaceful democracy AND ethnic differences. Each is a different democracy, and in each of the countries the harmony was achieveed via different methods: propaganda (that isn't always a negative word) of a harmonious society and strict punishments for any racist movements in Singapore and they way of compromise and accomodation in Switzerland.Or look at our motherland: in the first few of her democratic years there were skinheads and nationalists (remember PHE on cemented walls of Hrush'ovki?). Now, however, such gangs have almost died out. We have Russian rap and so many people are beginning to like it (I personally like it much more than the American 'genuine' rap, but the reasons are off-topic). There are so many Georgians, Osetins and other people from the Kavkaz region who have settled in cities all over Russian. The Chinese are literally invading Primorskyi Krai - where is the conflict you are talking about?Anyway, imo, while Democracy may somewhat contribute to a racial or religious divide within a country, the genuine reason for such a divide is not so much the freedom the democracy created, but rather the false ideas induced upon us by nationalists. It is only our choice whether to buy these ideas, or to have a mind of our own. It seems that our fellow Russians have made the right choice.

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