15 Apr 2005 fjf   » (Master)

I enjoy reading tf's blog. Here's a rant against democracy.


I'm no philospher, but the idea of a benevolent autocrat began, I think, with Aristotle's Philosopher Prince. The idea crops up from time to time, for example in Asimov's robot series and Frank Herbert's Dune series. I have also played with the idea in my (unpublished) novel. I discussed this idea with a German friend of mine a few years ago, and she was extremely hostile to the idea of autocracy, and I think just about everyone is, not necessarily because autocracy itself is bad but because in practice autocrats tend to be ruthless in pursuit of their own ideals.

I think that in order for an autocracy or a democracy to work, the governed need to trust the governor, to believe that the governor is doing what is best for them. More importantly, the governor needs to have an eye on the future - the long-term future.

Modern democracy in practice in dominated by commercial interests where nothing is sacred except money, by the short-term interest of re-election and the immediate-term interest of public image. Celebrity is worshipped. For these reasons, and others, we cannot trust those who govern.

Whether it's democracy or autocracy, it seems we cannot trust those who rule us.

So, what is democracy really? Partly it is, as tf says, justice - even those who govern are ultimately accountable, even though their power makes it harder for us to ensure this. Mostly, however, it is the "dark side" of democracy - beaurocracy - that we both crave and fear. Beaurocracy is about making the world safe for us, and it achieves this by gradually stamping out freedoms and repressing individuality.

One day the world will be perfectly safe: nothing bad will ever happen to us and everything will be completely predictable.


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