It has come to my realization that democracy in its true and honest form does not exist. And whatever “democracy” that we have now is not really all that it was cracked up to be; in fact, it never was.
There is no denying that countries such as the United States, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Britain and not to mention my own home country, Canada, have created and established great economies that generate fabulously enormous amounts of wealth. Indeed these countries have accomplished a lot; and that too in such a short time span, from creating tall buildings to sky scrapers to an avalanche of the world’s most powerful technologies, which allow us to communicate instantly anywhere in the world. Through technological creativity and accumulation, these nations have leaped above and beyond their biological and intellectual roots in a multitude of ways.
However, despite all this wealth and technology, only a handful hoards most of this wealth, while millions and billions of people around the world remain impoverished, suffering from hunger, disease, and misery. Millions die of starvation and diseases (that can be cured) every year.
But this is not to imply that the rich, supposedly democratic, nations are free of problems. Rather, it is quite the contrary. They, too, have failed in many ways and have a myriad of problems. Despite their technology and wealth, they still remain firmly rooted in primitive behaviours and unjust relationships with each other. They are constantly at war with each other and suffer genocide after genocide. Terrorism has become a way of life.
It seems like their mass of ever more powerful technology is a double-edged sword. They have used it to create every comfort and amusement, and yet, at the same time, they have used it to bring every kind of destruction and terror upon themselves and the world.
And so one wonders: where does true democracy fit in all of this?
But, before I go any further, one first needs to understand what democracy means. Wikipedia defines democracy as follows:
Democracy is a political government either carried out directly by the people (direct democracy) or by means of elected representatives of the people (Representative democracy).
There is no doubt that combining direct democracy and representative democracy together, in a fruitful way, achieves a correct distribution of power, thus resulting in a government that overcomes the shortcomings of both.
It is a fact that the distribution of power is the most fundamental aspect of all political issues. A good government and a good society need the correct distribution of power as their foundation. Excessive power cannot be held by an elite few, or else this is not democracy anymore. Rather, it is plutocracy, which is defined as governance by the wealthy.
Most of these pseudo-democracies are therefore plutocracies, where most of their political, economic, and social efforts are overwhelmingly dominated by the few wealthy elite. And here I can safely say that there is no such thing as a true democracy; it is only an ideology created to patronize the middle and lower class into believing that they have freedom of choice, when in reality they are conned under false pretenses. Almost all of these so-called democratic nations’ governments are created by, are populated by, and first and best serves, wealthy elites that have held perpetual hegemony of power and wealth throughout generations; much to the detriment of the rest of the populace. And since such governments are designed to serve only in the favours of the wealthy elites, it is extremely undemocratic.
Further proof of this pseudo-democracy is evident during elections, which are left to the marketplace, mass media, and political parties that are mostly owned and operated by the wealthy. These elections, offices, and the favours of government are bought just like fruit in a market. As a result, common people are effectively disenfranchised and left powerless, while, at the same time, individual freedom and economic security are snatched away, increasingly crushed by the ever-growing governmental and corporate power.
Let’s take America for example, one of the world’s most popular democracies. Yet, this is a country where millions have never had healthcare. Why? Simply because it is ridiculously expensive! Most people have to sell their homes, which in worst cases, renders them homeless, in order to afford a simple surgery! And what does the government do? They swindle these people out of their private pensions, investments, and life savings; while the wealthy routinely dump taxes onto the middle class.
However, it does not end there. In the last three decades, trillions of dollars have been taken, or perhaps stolen would be a better word, from the middle class by the wealthiest Americans! Indeed, America has divided into a small super wealthy class, while the vast majority has found itself in an economic decline. And everywhere such government-favoured, super-sized multi-national corporations hold supreme sovereignty. These corporate elites and political parties further tag team in order to control and go against public interests, without the populace even noticing it!
So, exactly what is the point of having a government if it does not secure your life, freedom, and pursuit of happiness? Roger D. Rothenberger said it perfectly in his book “Beyond Plutocracy,” in which he stated that pseudo-democratic nations threaten the freedom of individuals by everything that is “big.” Big nation. Big population. Big government. Big businesses/corporations. And even big religion. Most of these pseudo-democracies are secular, but religion still plays a massive role, especially in politics.
And then there are those nations that claim to be democratic, but show extreme religious intolerance. Consider the recent French ban on the Muslim women face-veil, also known as the “niqab.” France has an estimated five million Muslims, which is considered to be the largest population in Western Europe. And although France claims that it is a democracy that allows freedom of choice, they are hypocrites for banning the niqab, which may or may not be a freedom of choice. No one will ever know, unless the French government visits each and every one of those five million Muslim households to find out for themselves, which of course sounds beyond absurd. I, personally, am against such articles of clothing, but that does not give me the right to forbid other women from wearing it. Some women choose to wear it due to strong religious beliefs and genuine fear of the afterlife. And I am quite sure there are most of those who have been forced into wearing it, usually by their fathers, brothers, or husbands. However, simply banning something is no different than enforcing women to wear the headscarf/niqab, because in both these cases, threat and force is involved. And this is not only an infringement of rights, but it is highly undemocratic.
I am convinced that all current “democracies,” big and small, are, in fact, authoritarian plutocracies in disguise. They all practice some good and much evil, each in its own way, as it only tends to their own selfish interests. The sad thing is that most people don’t recognize this horrid reality.
Perhaps it is better they didn’t, for the truth may end up doing more harm than good.
As quoted by E.B. White:
Democracy is itself, a religious faith. For some it comes close to being the only formal religion they have.