I just left a comment on the “The Good Life”, and it got me thinking. And so, in the spirit of recycling (and laziness) I will hereby expand that thought and lay it upon you.
The topic: democracy and politicians. The writer of The Good Life explained why he doesn’t vote:
“The only electable parties are the ones fighting over the centre ground. A centre ground that is governed by powerful corporations that will pay any amount of money to fund a political party that will claim that centre ground. Is that what you call democracy?”
And I find myself agreeing with the man entirely. Voting these days is just damage control – vote for Wankers-A because Wankers-B are slightly worse than them, and we must, by all means, keep Wankers-B out of power. Where the fuck is the “choice” in all of that?
When was the last time any of you voted for a certain politician or party because you really, really believed in them and they didn’t let you down, instead of just because they were the least bad option? I can’t remember, to be honest.
Here is the problem: Representative democracy is an artefact from another era, an era when you would pick a guy from your village and send him off to the parliament in the big city (a week’s journey by donkey and bat) in the hope that he would represent your village’s interests. And this works quite well, as long as your village’s interests are purchasing nuclear submarines, providing tax cuts for Enron, ignoring the plight of millions of people in other areas of the world and running the natural environment into the ground.
Or, to put it another, more accurate way – it doesn’t work at all.
But now, with instantaneous information available to all, this is no longer necessary, desirable or useful. In fact, this form of “representation” is extremely dangerous as it concentrates power and makes the “representatives” a juicy target for lobbyists and businesses with their agendas and their fat and dripping wallets.
So it’s time then for true democracy, where we the people get the chance to vote on every single issue. These days, with everything in life happening on-line, it’s not actually that hard to do. Not everybody will vote on every issue, of course, but I am sure the really important issues will get a big turnout.
Of course the rich will hate this because by passing power directly to the people, you exclude the possibility of lobbying and bribing. And states hate this as it makes it very difficult to promote hidden agendas, i.e. to do something for one reason while claiming it is for another. And all the politicians hate this as it removes their power and returns it to the place it is supposed to reside – with the people.
If our present system of democracy was “real” then we would have “none of the above” as a legitimate choice on all the ballot papers, and about 40% of the seats in the world’s parliaments would be empty. Instead we have self-serving compulsive liars raising their own salaries and going on about “serving the people” when in fact they are busy preserving a stagnant system where business can thrive and the rest of us can just fuck right off.
So let’s shoot representative democracy in the head like the sick and dying beast that it is; its time has passed and it has proven itself incapable again and again of actually solving anything. Let the politicians get real jobs, so we can tackle the enormous challenges facing the world with a system that is capable of dealing with them.
And before I retire to my bedchamber for the night with a glass of cognac and a cheroot, I’ll just toss in a couple of quotes, from sources that I have forgotten:
“Before it was the masters who picked their slaves, and today it is the slaves who choose their masters.”
“Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than what we have now.”
/ Comrade paddy