Thursday, June 14, 2007

Democracy - We Get What We Deserve

One thing I'll say for democracy - people get what they deserve. Those of us who remember the "time for a change" mantra of '97 know the shallowness of thought that won the country over. Blair's government has proceeded to ban anything unfashionable, remove our rights, and generally boss us around for our own good - and Britain deserved it. Britain chose it.

We even have the opposition we deserve. If we were a principled people, we would have a principled opposition. But principles don't pay in politics - the electorate neither understands nor desires them. The Conservative party knows better than to put a principled conservative in the leadership role. They've tried that - and the electorate burned them for it. So we have the vacuous Cameron - a showman like Blair - only with fewer principles.

The Palestinians elected Hamas. That's the thing about democracy. This may sound like a bitter injustice to the many good hearted Palestinians who want none of this madness, but they fail to form a critical mass. They will endure what their compatriots have chosen.

Heartless? No, I want something better for people. Pragmatic? Yes, I think the best option for government is to allow the people to choose. The down-side is that the people will get what they choose.

10 comments:

Henry said...

nice blog!

Lord Nazh said...

If they would forget about making a state of Palestine out of Judaea then maybe they could return to their original homes and be better terrorists.

Peter said...

Dangerous blog... JJR Tolkien thought along similar lines, that man was not capable of ruling himself, hence the need for elven lords, kings and wizards, a ruling elite.

I don't know that the problem is the people's choice so much as the ruling elite limiting the people's choice.

A couple of years ago I was sent a letter by the labor party in Australia asking me to prioritize a list of concerns. I filled it out and was about to seal the envelope when I realized what had just happened. I'd fallen prey to deliberately limit choices.

Sure there was better schooling, improved roads, reduced taxes. But where was harsher penalties for repeat offenders or indefinite detention for second-time sex-offenders? Nowhere to be seen. Why? It was an elitist labor list. Whatever I chose, in whatever order, would simply validate their preset agenda and conveniently excluded items not on their agenda.

So I crossed out the list, made up my own and sent it back saying, shame on you for a deceptive survey, record this accurately!

Point being, whether the party's are liberal or labor is almost a mute point. There is a ruling elite. The pendulum never swings beyond their reach. Just look at the background they come from. It is rare, in the extreme, to see a butcher or a high school teacher reach these heights. If they do, they're the odd man out. I don't know that it's the people's choice that's at fault but the lack of choice for the people.

Hamas is peculiar to say the least. The problem there is beyond me.

Onyx Stone said...

Peter, I did say in the post that I think the best option for government is to allow the people to choose.

As Churchill put it (so much more elequently) "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

I make the point that the options are limited to the extent that the people allow. This is why the West is generally more free and prosperous. The public is more educated, and the politicians get away with fewer shananagans. Your small protest at the Australian Labour Party survey is a mark of how far you will (or will not) be hoodwinked. Western governments may be pretty shady at times, but an honest comparison with non-Western nations quickly tells you how good we have it. Having travelled a little in Africa, I've seen a much greater acceptance of tyranical leadership and corruption - so that's what they get.

Yes, the ruling elite will try any and all tricks to hold on to power over people. Democracy certainly does provide a theoretical buffer to this. In practice it is corrupted by the bias of the media, and the elite stacking both sides of the debate, defining the options - as you say. But the constant challenge to that authority by critical thinkers keeps a check on things. If we fail to do that in sufficient numbers and volume, then we end up with an opposition as indistinguishable from the government as crap from poo.

I'm not opposed to democracy. I'm just for the electrate demanding better options.

Onyx Stone said...

...And the problem with Hamas is partly the West's inability to accept the downside of democracy. Hamas won the election, but the West continued to back and even fund Fatah, while undermining Hamas at every turn. Hamas finally got pissed off, and claimed by force what they believe they won at the ballot box.

Now, Hamas is a piece of shit. Fatah is only poo.
The West said "democracy, elections, democracy!".
Palestine said "we choose shit!"
The West said, "no you should have poo! - democracy, hypocracy, democracy!"

Lord Nazh said...

"...And the problem with Hamas is partly the West's inability to accept the downside of democracy. Hamas won the election, but the West continued to back and even fund Fatah, while undermining Hamas at every turn."

Onyx, this sentence is only partly correct. You see the west gave Hamas the ability to govern, all they had to do is STOP BEING TERRORISTS and agree to allow the Jews to live.

They would not and will not do that, hence they didn't get any money or recognition.

Onyx Stone said...

Yes, Nazh, you're right about this. And it would have been terrible for the Western nations to support Hamas.

But what I'm getting at is the dilema faced by the West. We want democracy, but then we don't like the choice people make!

Given that the Islamists are utterly unreasonable arseholes, I don't know what the solution for Palistine is. But if we are not prepared to back the decision of the Palestinian people, then we should stop mouthing-off about bringing democracy to the region!

Some countries (like Israel) want and abide by a democratic system. So it works - albeit imperfectly. In Palistine, it's a disaster.

But the common factor across democracies is that people get what they deserve.

Lord Nazh said...

"Given that the Islamists are utterly unreasonable arseholes, I don't know what the solution for Palistine is. But if we are not prepared to back the decision of the Palestinian people, then we should stop mouthing-off about bringing democracy to the region!"

Again you make (imo) the same mistake in thinking that the west WOULD NOT abide by the decision. It was not the west that determined that the decision would not be held, it was Hamas who did it. There were very simple things that had to be done to make Hamas (as bad as it is and as bad as it would have been) 'legitimate' to the west, these things Hamas would NOT do.

The people knew this going in, Hamas knew this going in. I agree that it isn't 'true democracy', yet that is not practiced ANYWHERE and never will be. In a true democracy minorities will have no rights not granted to them by a majority, they would not have laws protecting their interest, etc.

In not recognizing Hamas, the west did not, in fact, not recognize the 'government' of the palistenean-arabs, they simply did not recognize known and wanted terrorists as part of the government.

Peter said...

I think the point made in the British MP's book Celsius 7/7 is relevant here.

The underlying and completely overlooked key to understanding the Middle East dilemma is that Israel is a successful, prosperous, stable democracy in the midst of totalitarian countries. The whole Isalmist or Palestinian issue is continually stirred up to keep the masses agitated and to stop the masses from realizing just how dysfunctional and counter-productive their governments are.

Can you imagine the scale of the problem if a Palestinian state also succeeded as a stable, prosperous, successful democracy? How long would the House of Saud continue? Or Jordan, Egypt or Syria? Perhaps Palestine and Iraq are sharing such dire crisis for the same reason, they're being constantly undermined by the big players.

We just see the effects on the surface, the visible ruptures between Hamas and Fatah, we don't see the Syrian agents, the Iranian influence, the illegal arms trading and training.

If an arab democracy succeeded, the rest of the Middle East would fall like dominoes, and their leaders know it. So... watch out for the smokescreens trying to divert attention from the real issues.

Lord Nazh said...

True Peter.

And it makes you wonder why no one is ever trying to get Jordan to return the Paleo's their land?