The reality

It finally happened. Sooner than I expected, too. Sitting in my Politics lecture, I was finally accused of “being into authoritarianism”, after publicly challenging the concept of Democracy.

Isn’t University a “platform for academic debate”? Well, I thought so too. What I didn’t think is that a few questions would lead to such a statement. Me! I’m all for liberty, human rights, freedom, etc, etc.

Being free is nice. Believing we’re free is even better. However we must be realistic and assess the effectiveness of this Democracy we keep singing about. Countless conflicts have been going on, millions of people have been dying, all in the name of “democratisation”.

I’m not saying countries should bow down to their authoritarian regimes and remain ignorant as to what’s outside the cave, but the concept of “fighting for peace”, “dying for peace”, grinds my gears just a bit.

Let us take Northern Africa for example. The Arab Spring, which has really never ended, aimed to break free from the authoritarian regimes that had been in place thus far. Which I agree with. I do want to see my fellow africans free to exercise their liberty. But I remember sitting through a talk on Africa’s political context, and someone had a good point, “who says Democracy is the best regime for Africa?” Does anyone take the time to consider such a question? Or does it seem too ridiculous that Democracy may simply not be the best solution in a specific case?

I get that Democracy “works” in the USA and why they’d want to spread it all over. Thanks, Captain America, saving the day as always. But Africa is not America. We have a different history, a different way of doing things. There are social, anthropological, you name it, differences. And all these factors should be taken into consideration, before we start invading countries, waving our superhero flags and saving the world from “the conservatives”.

I’m sure the Greeks were genuine when they came up with Direct Democracy and self-government and all those really fancy philosophies, but as I see it, we have not yet proven to be fit enough to govern ourselves. And although giving power to the people sounds beautiful and is very politically correct, the 51% might just happen to be a bunch of people sitting around playing Angry Birds and not caring about what’s happening in Syria!

That said, I’m not into authoritarianism. I just don’t trust the people with the power. (in that case, us)



6 thoughts on “Democrazy

    1. My point exactly. We shouldn’t be rooting for something as “precarious” as Democracy. But then again, the only certain thing is that we are capable of thinking. Well, some of us.

  1. This actually used to be my point sometime ago. I used to believe that Democracy was just a myth and we were brainwashed into thinking it was the only real form of government.

    Now, I just think whatever democracy is we need it everywhere and we need it constantly. Electing someone democratically is not enough, we should be a part of every decision that they make. Not sure if this is possible.

    But nothing else will work here, I am from Pakistan.

    1. I do have some sort of faith in Democracy still. It’s just that in theory it’s so amazing, but reality doesn’t match the expectations.

      And instead of working towards the “ideal” Democratic regime, we just accept the distorted reality that it brings.

      We are so quick to point out the flaws of an authoritarian regime, but when it comes to Democracy all we see is flowers – and this I disagree with. My point is that Democracy, just as any other regime, has some major flaws. Yes, they can be fixed, however no one seems concerned to fix them.

      Another thing is that people should be politically involved – bu of course! Thing is, people of today… meh!

  2. Democracy is far from the ideal. The /ideal/ is nonexistent. Democracy, essentially, is the ability for a huge group of idiots to tell a minority of sincere geniuses what to do.

    Churchill said “it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” I tend to agree with this observation. There simply aren’t any alternatives in our current period of time.

    There are, however, several forms of democracy that can be utilized to get us evermore closer to the ideal. I am a fan of weighted voting and a constitutional democratic system in a federal state. The more you limit the idiots, and the more you limit your government, the closer we get to our ideal.

    But my main reason for commenting here is the Africa part. The person who posed the question to you about whether or not democracy is the best for Africa, is, and I am simply going out on a limb here, a nationalist with authoritarian tendencies. Being a proponent of Western ideals in Africa, I know better than anyone about the “but it’s Africa!” defense.

    It is not limited to Africa. In the United States, the fundamentalist right counter liberal legislation with “but America is a Christian nation!” The same can be said for recent events in Russia. But it’s all irrelevant. Liberty is a universal concept and is the only ethical and moral state of being for people. Whether or not Africa has this unique history or culture does not matter. Africa exists on this planet and is not immune from globalization and international changes. African nationalists tend to keep hammering on this but as nationalism becomes more irrelevant my smile keeps getting larger.

    The question I always pose to people who allege democracy is not for Africa is “Then are you willing to subject yourself to my imperial rule right now?” and their response is universally “no”. They have exercised democracy by telling a wannabe tyrant that he cannot subjugate them. These nationalists are not ideologically consistent if they are not willing to accept my rule. They keep reverting to democracy – they make decisions regarding the politics for their lives.

    My main point through this is that there exists no such thing as geographical exceptionalism when it comes to libertarianism (under which I classify democracy) or authoritarianism. Liberty is mandated for every individual.

  3. Hello!
    Wow, what a refreshing reply I have have encountered!

    It would be folly for me to deny the fact that the points you have raised are valid. And of course I’m able to understand your views and even entertain your opinions.

    I don’t think that Africa’s history is irrelevant, but I also don’t think its influence should be as great when deciding, or trying a political regime.

    Also, saying Democracy isn’t for Africa doesn’t automatically mean that any form of authoritarian regime is. That was not the point of the post and if it came across as so, well, English is not my first language!

    The point is that Democracy is being mass produced and exported to different places in the world, and whoever produces it expects states to simply align themselves with the standards that are set. Perhaps Democracy should be as flexible as one preaches?

    I enjoy the concept of Liberty belonging to everyone regardless of the borders mankind has created. This is not to say that these borders have not separated people, separated beliefs and, fortunately or unfortunately, caused the notion of “liberty” to lose its universalism. If it ever had one to begin with.

    Democracy isn’t the world’s most terrible idea. But there must be something better.

    Thank you for such an insightful comment!

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