Monday, December 19, 2011

More Than Democracy

Though often presented as the ideal of political theory, Democracy still exists in a structure of Kratos, a structure of power and contextually a structure existing in deeds of violence and authority. [1] To the minds developed within a history of Monarchy, Democracy may seem to be the most natural and free governance possible but this initial impression exists because more fundamental assumptions obscure certain aspects of the most basic components of authority. No form of authority, no matter how dispersed or equally applied, is fair. As a person relinquishes their power and responsibility over their actions to a government, they consent to the reality that it may be demanded of them to act in a way they do not want to. This eventual conflict will not be a request or a dialogue, it will be a demand. Every citizen will eventually be compelled to comply with a demand they do not wish to due the relinquishment of power authority requires; to do otherwise would be criminal. The structure of Kratos demands compliance through any number of sanctions and always finally through violence.
It could be argued that Democracy is in some way fair in function, every person votes in exactly the same matter, they are tallied, and the results are published; all are expected to abide by the decree of the citizenry. This characterization of Democracy is an illusion provided by the structure. While a direct system of cast ballots is enacted by all citizens in the same way, the results are neither representative of the entire populace nor the intensity of their belief or even the quality of their knowledge. The result of a Democratic poll is ultimately a dictation issued by The Majority (just as it would have been a dictation by an individual in a Monarchy or a minority in an Oligarcy) to, at best, the entire populace. It is in the defense of Democracy that one might claim we must all make sacrifices to be part of a society. The claim is true, though those sacrifices need not be dictated upon threat of violence, and the foundation for the theory of Mutual Aid. Democracy is not an institution of Mutual Aid, however.
The sacrifices needed from the members of a community, in the name of Mutual aid, are violated by Democracy in a way often ignored in political theory. First, Democracy assumes The Minority is an ever cycling group. Those advocating Democracy speak as though every person will be asked in turn to make concessions at the same frequency and of the same personal value as every other person in a Democratic system. This is certainly false, Static Minorities (those who are often or nearly always upon the ‘losing’ side of a ballot) have existed throughout the history of Democracy even when not institutionalized through laws created by majority consensus which we would now, as a whole, consider unjust – slavery, for example. As a system of Kratos (dominion) is capable of forcing unjust rulings that The Majority may feel indifferent or apathetic toward; enforcement through violence. A system, of any sort, which can institutionalize injustice upon threat of violence is undesirable.
Democracy, perhaps even more than Monarchy or Oligarcy, is farther subjected to a critical flaw in dominion – uninformed choice. While society now has the means to allow every person access to experts, the review and debate of the Scientific Community is not always and should not always be accepted by every person. This obscurity inevitably leads to unjust decisions from any authority should the government legislate beyond that which is absolutely necessary, a near certainty when authority is involved. While those who advocate Democracy claim The Majority will prevent unjust legislation, we see that is not always the case in both history and concept. Another assumption (beyond equitable distribution of sacrifice and informed choice) exists in Democratic structure, the belief that those who vote do so only on the basis of justice.
Of those things which influence government, wealth has a long and complex history with politics. Even now global protests (The Occupy Moment) are underway which, at their core, are claims about the damage wealth can exhibit upon politics. [2] Despite all other claims that could be made, and many rightfully so, about the interaction of wealth and government; the fact remains that wealth destroys government in the most fundamental way. All governments of authority depend on one basic fact, those with the authority must make their decisions based upon what is, or at least what they believe to be, justice. In a Democracy, if The Majority can be influenced by anything other than justice (such as wealth) then the conceptual foundation for the government collapses the moment that potential actualizes. In no governmental form is this more effectual than a Democracy; one single vote purchased from any single citizen assaults Democracy in and irreparable and foundational way. Every government of dominion suffers from this fatal flaw and every Democracy is undoubtedly a victim of it.

[1] Dr. Palmquist, Steven. “A Philosophical Framework for Political Systems.” Hong Kong Baptist University, 14 May 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2011
[2] Covert, Darcy. Hayat, Ali. “Capturing Occupy Wall Street Movement Demands.” The Huffington Post, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 15 Dec. 2011

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