Demons of democracy

What is the thing called “democracy”? Everybody talks about it ad nausea for the past 50 odd years. Specially so called ‘ Western democracies’. Everyone seems to have a broad and vague idea of it’s meaning; that it is a system of government where the citizens have the final say. They choose the temporary form of government and some sort of parliamentary control. The parliamentarians and the head of government are people voted by all citizenry in election held usually every 4 to 5 years. Such a political and practical configuration has its foundation in a simple believe that if such a government should act in a way contrary to the wishes of the majority or simply ‘immoral’ in the eyes of the citizens, it would fall from grace and not be re-elected. A simple and not complicated altogether idea. Perhaps not perfect, but workable.
In the last 50 years many a war has been conducted on behalf of this idea, under the banner of “spreading”or “advancing”democracy. That was supposedly the entire sense of 40 years of ideological warfare between the two opposing camps of Cold War. And the ensuing wars fought by proxies in Vietnam, Angola, Nicaragua and so on. Since the collapse of the Soviet empire and its anachronistic albeit bloody to the core system – it was hard to find and even harder to justify new fronts and wars. But new armaments and war technologies need to be checked from time to time in real situations. Hence Iraq and this totally insane and criminal war which resulted in unspeakable devastation, carnage and suffering. Billions of dollars were spent on it and more still are going to be in the foreseeable future. More than on any natural disasters either in North America or Africa (and there were plenty of these: severe droughts in large swaths of Africa, horrific tsunami in Asia, hurricane and flood Catrina in New Orleans). Is it democracy that was victorious in Iraq? Are Iraqis the happy at last citizens of a free and peaceful country? They are neither happy or free nor Iraq is a democracy. Anymore than it was under the bloody regime of Saddam Husein. In many, many ways – they are much worse. That war, like many fought under the false presence of “spreading democracy”, had nothing to do with democracy. It had to do with power and greed. And so, increasingly, is our democratic system in the West. That is not to say that there is a comparison to former, Soviet style of communism, or autocratic system of any other political order. Be it secular or religious. But it is important to realize that we, the citizens of Western Civilization, are loosing the ideas we fought for since the advent of Reformation and Renaissance followed by Enlightenment and the great XIX century. It is being stolen from us by the new form of enslavement and serfdom under the guise of “global economy” and aggressive capitalism. To be truly free and politically active a citizen must have a economic means to participate in a political process. That is the forgotten and absolutely true tenet of old socialist idea. That tenet is not only valid but is indeed moral. And practical and achievable.
Look at the true facts of the ‘globalisation of markets’. Did it bring economic prosperity to poor nations? Established new and fairer system of earnings, social responsibility?
Yes, of course, we all benefited from cheap cloths and other (usually equally cheaply made) articles on the shelfs of Walmarts and other superstores. Or did we? Our bill at the counter of these stores was smaller by few bucks, sometime few hundreds even. But so were our earnings. The lower brackets of earners in almost all (certainly in Canada and the United States) Western countries fell for a few years in a row. A lot of people lost their jobs altogether due to the “outsourcing” phenomena (thats the slogan being used to describe closing down a factory to move it to another country with cheaper labor). Did you notice how many more hours we are working these days than 20 years ago? Did you notice how many jobs there are with no set guarantees of hours of length of employment? How many people have to hold 2, 3 or even 4 jobs at the same time just to keep them from utter economic collapse?
Those are not consequences of some unspeakable natural disasters or wars or some cosmic unexplainable occurrences. That is a logical consequence of ‘globalisation’ and ‘free flow of market and money’. On the other side of this coin you will see thousands of uneducated workers in China, Thaiti, Africa, Thailand and India working 10 or 15 hour days in the ‘outsourced’ companies from Detroit, Montreal and Toronto. Quite a few of these workers will be children.
And it all have to do with greed. One of the oldest and most serious sins of man. Greed of managers who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in salaries and bonuses and of very few stockholders holding the majority of voting shares in these companies. Although the majority of funds are provided by meager shareholders who do not posses any practical means of any votes or control of the company. The greedy and unscrupulous managers and their few powerful bosses in turn form a lobby which bribes and pressures our democratically elected politicians. Thus an original idea of democratic control and power of citizens is being eroded from within. Not by some (un)holy warriors of Islam. In a way, these religious zealots and murderers are actually helping the greedy power-holders in the West. Not that I really believe in some grandmaster design of secret plot. But they help them to maintain the necessary level of political paranoia and fear to control the masses and extract ever more money and financial control for their own benefit.
Take a look how our educational system has fallen on its face in the last few decades. You can’t sustain a level of modern workforce without the minimum of education. You do need a critical mass of skilled employees to grease our capitalistic megamachine. But you don’t need a mass that is critical or being capable of critique. A multitude of universities and polytechnical schools produces a multitude of uneducated ‘educated’ young people. It is often embarrassing to engage in a intellectual discourse with many of them. They might be (and often are) rather knowledgeable in their narrow fields of specialty but their knowledge of human history is truly well below what used to be expected of every single graduate not of university, but a High school.
I do strongly believe in private enterprise and the ingenuity of private business. But I also strongly believe in in an idea and theory that nothing comes from nothing in any commercial enterprise. Things that are produce are result of business acumen of a manager and owner but almost equally in resources provided by nature (therefore belonging to everybody) and resources provided by all involved in production (employees). Remove any of these parts and the entire construction falls to the ground. The only exceptions from this are works of art and scientific discoveries.
Beware of new form of feudalism creeping into our society.

Before long, if you are not careful you might find yourself being a serf, instead of a free man.

About Bogumil P-G

publisher, essayist, poet lived (and born) in Poland, later England, Italy, presently in Canada
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