Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Democracy, its own worst enemy

At times I think, feel and believe that democracy is its own worst enemy. The ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates were already critical towards democracy (eg, Big Think-2017, Fact Myth 2017, Filosofie Magazine 2016). Some 2,500 years ago, they predicted that tyranny would emerge from democracy. Today’s reality seems to confirm that prediction. Why??

Apart from solitary species, animals seem to need, want (and believe) in leaders. A leader guides the herd with its wisdom, and protects the herd with its skills and experience. However, animals do not blindly follow their leader (eg, dogs, pigeons). Leaders must show their competence.

For conscious humans, the sequence seems a little different. Most people want a leader. People do, however, neither need a government nor a President. Many – if not most – people believe that politicians are corrupt, hungry for power, incompetent, selfish, and so on and so forth.

This view makes sense as Politics lies in the Power dimension of the 7 Belief systems, together with Money and Religion. Apart from Love, all other (6) beliefs are selfish (my blog #1, blog #2).

In 1887, Lord Acton stated: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”

Nowadays, we seem to confuse Politics with Leadership. Hence, it makes sense that we confuse an elected politician with a leader. Given the characteristics of most politicians, our choice can – and will – only disappoint us. Unlike animals, humans often blindly follow their incompetent leaders. This is another example of the human burden of consciousness (my blog #1, blog #2).

Democracy provides legitimacy to its leadership. This must be the reason why autocratic leaders continue with their version of a legitimate parliamentary democracy. The alternative is clearly not a legitimate option, like Mr. Maduro in Venezuela. Hence, tyranny is best served to the people while using – and abusing – democracy.

The Venezuelan situation also shows the fundamental dislike of any tyranny: checks & balances. One of its pillars is the separation of powers (trias politica) between the executive (government), the judiciary (legal system), and the legislature (parliament). In any autocracy, both the legal system and parliament serve the interests of the (executive) politicians. Other examples of checks and balances are the media (belief: the Truth) and the Church (belief: Religion).

Several countries still have an ancient form of leadership: Kingdoms. The combination of an unelected Kingdom (formal head of state) and an elected Government (executive branch) gives a unique set of additional checks and balances.

Nevertheless, checks and balances in democracy do not prevent Albert Einstein‘s famous saying: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

Democracy (1992) by Leonard Cohen – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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