The problem of democracy | Thoughts #34

The most widely accepted definition of democracy is as follows; a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. “Whole population” is the focal point here. Democracy is older than some religions of the world, it’s traditionalist in some sense, originating according to some in Athens, ancient Greece. Any country in the modern world which isn’t a democracy is considered to be unethical and totalitarian. Now there are some, but mainly two branches of democracy; direct and representative democracy. Before I get into the analysis of a democratic system’s problem, we need to understand the two briefly.

In a direct democracy, people directly deliberate and decide on legislation. In a representative democracy, the people elect representatives to deliberate and decide on legislation, such as in parliamentary or presidential democracy.

Now, let’s get into it, and whatever I will point out mostly will sound obvious but also overlooked, but nevertheless will be of importance. To begin, let me give you a thought exercise: imagine you’re in a car, going on a journey and the car breaks down. There a total of 7 people in the car including you, some of them are doctors and some engineers. Whose collective advice will you take? If you’re not dumb, you’ll choose the engineering group’s. But what if one of them is a mechanic and the others are actually software engineers? You must listen to only the mechanic not the rest. The reason is simple, that person has the expertise. Now the premise is simple; depending on the goal, different people are needed for the respective job, even if it defies majority. “Eligibility” is an issue too, does a person magically get some insight into the world when he/she turns 18 to then be having a “right” to vote?

Now the world’s largest democracy is India, and let’s think for a bit how it runs. It has a lower house of the parliament, an upper house, Prime Minister and the President. To cut short the way everyone is elected, it basically it a bottom-up hierarchy, meaning, the people elect the lower house, those elect the upper house, they also elect the Prime Minister, and then the elected members elect the president who in some cases can overrule certain decisions and does the approval of Bills of the parliament. So, I don’t think it’s rocket science to not see the issue here; if the people are sadistic, unruly, extremist and intolerant they’ll elect the people wanting that ideal. Not only that but democracy is a majority based system, meaning the morality of the paradigm is based on quantity of approvals not quality.

Now the reason I thought of writing this was that too often I see people praising the doctrine of democracy i.e. how their voice matters. The question is that does everyone’s voice really matter? You wouldn’t give a damn if your parents said that you need to drink lemon water to save yourself if the cardiologist is saying that you need surgery or else you die. Now, which “lesser evil” you’ll choose, the “whole population” will choose, that will stay for half a decade deciding your fate, pleasing the majority. The choice between politicians is said to be choosing between “lesser evils”. But in reality, depending on the person being elected, there is a right one, but that choice will depend on the person voting. An illiterate will choose the lemon water but an educated one will accept surgery. Your neighbour is literally choosing your future and you are choosing theirs. The diverse ideas are not something to rejoice about in a democratic election, it to me is worrying because that lays clear that a solid objective right path for the population is not chosen and we’re just waiting and praying that the neighbours will choose what we deem as right for all of us.

When Mary Wollstonecraft wrote her book “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” I’m not really sure about the right to suffrage, not just for women but for men too. Shouldn’t we care that when the person who will choose on most of the multi-dimensional matters of the country, is voted to be elected by illiterates (men or women), rather I should say uneducated people in general. I’m not trying to demean anyone here either, but education makes a difference. One might say that a farmer has his necessities to be cared for, yeah, but a ruler, who is objectively well thought out in his/her reign will care for all, not just the elite class, but the middle, the lower, the farmer, the beggar, even the animals. I seriously doubt that I’m over-analyzing this because what I’ve pointed out is displayed pretty well all over the world. The fact that we fight over political agenda, under different banners, that we have to not tell people who we voted for, makes it clear that we are actually covering the shortcomings of democracy. Now, I’m not saying let’s have an anarchy or something, but the acceptance of the issues with democracy is non-existent to then even think about a reformed way of governing, to fix the issues with the current one. The quote “Nation of sheep, ruled by wolves, owned by pigs” begins with ‘nation of sheep’ if you haven’t noticed. The problem with democracy is a big one, and overlooked not by chance but by majority choice. If it is ignored it will soon fall on all our heads, and then the white sheeps will be playing in the pig’s mud.

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