Democracy on trial...


#1

irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor … tml?via=mr

Berlusconi almosts tops the poll in Italy, Fianna Fáil on the way back in in Ireland, Spanish leader Rajoy seemingly guilty of massive corrupt practices…all at a time when recessions are depleting the standards of living of many of their electorates.

There seems to be a growing realisation amongst thinking people that democracy itself is a sham that offers nothing but the illusion of choice to a compliant, controlled and manipulated citizenry. The similarities with Weimar are worth noting as well as what replaced it.

The ongoing attempts at maintenance of what was the status quo in order to protect the interests of a failed elite are damaging the very fabric and sense of membership of society, as well as creating a vaccuum into which someone or something is eventually going to step…and whatever it is that comes to pass will of course be afforded a degree of legitimacy on the basis of it having been arrived at ‘democratically’…lest we forget, Hitler came to power via democratic means.

Viable alternatives, of course, seem to be hard to come by…at least we seem to be living through interesting times…


#2

Democracy is like mob rule. The mob is using it to enrich themselves at the expense of others.


#3

So whats the alternative?


#4

If democracy is on trial then who picked the judges?

If anything is on trial it’s the nation state, has it passed it’s purpose?


#5

Unfortunately, if history is anything to go by, the judges are currently self-selecting…

Yes…so whats the alternative?


#6

I don’t think there is an alternative PTG.

Democracy is the best of the worse.

What we need is a limited small government, with plenty of transparency.


#7

Well democracy offer a way to lower unemployment and living conditions by removing the autocrats who are pursuing a failed policy. People will vote for anyone who offers an alternative to the current failed policy. All very reminiscent of Yeats poem the second coming


#8

a benevolent dictator could turn the country around in a few years but would they give up power when the time comes… there was a very good documentary on bbc4 last night on italy by a former editor of the economist, fascinating and very insightful, Italy is a deeply corrupt place with politicians which make our gobdaws look like statesmen in comparison


#9

As it is national governments are receding, Ireland’s capitulation for example. Now for something as sinister as another NAZI type totalitarian ascendancy you’d have to have a tangible goal. I don’t think there is one. Sure racism is front page again with the greek neo nazis but the European gerontocracy are the biggest danger to themselves. Just remember the NAZIs may have filled a leadership vacuum but preceding the vacuum was a nation with massive military domination ambitions anyway.

The only goal left for governments like Irelands is providing welfare, when they fail to provide it there is no one or no system that can even pretend to fill that gap, not even in the short term. It’s not a failure of democracy if voters expectations are unrealistic, it’s a failure of a national ideal.


#10

There’s a huge body of work on electoral systems and the mechanisms of party-based politics. This is one area where political scientists have spent a lot of time, and there have been some interesting implementations in municipal and regional elections in Europe. It’s not that there’s a shortage of alternative democratic ways to run elections and party systems; it’s just that there’s a lack of political will to change a system that’s working reasonably well for the incumbents.

I wouldn’t be so quick to say that Berlusconi is back. Forza Italia was consistently over 20% of the vote from 1994 to 2006 despite constant scandal surrounding the main sleazebag. They reached 27% at one point.
After merger with the National Front Alliance, the new Populo della Liberta got nearly 40% in 2008, so the recent turnout is a significant collapse for them politically. Clearly there’s a network of hardcore Berlusconi supporters that hasn’t gone away, but the passage of time will likely fix that.

Edit: Name of the new party


#11

You mean the mob is in charge.


#12

Wrong. It’s the rule of the people…in the vast majority of the countries we, the people, behave like a mob…In an hand full of nations, they behave like citizens…


#13

Little seems to have changed since Oscar Wilde observed it was the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people. The problem with it is that people don’t recognise that if they want to be kings they must be like kings. Instead they are the opposite and what results is a tyranny in the playing out of petty self interest. It is a tyranny of the worst kind. Not to mention they are so unking-like that they are very easily manipulated and easily bought and sold. The greatest political fear I have is an increase in the ‘direct democracy’ that is currently being agitated for. Btw I don’t vote; haven’t for nearly 15 years - because I refuse to play a part however ‘small’ in the tyranny that is currently perpetuated in this country and that goes by the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. It is anything but. It is an insidious system of control and exploitation whose root feature is a mechanism to attain the ‘consent’ of the governed. I’ve consented to none of the last 12 or so years. Not one bit. In fact I have been continually outraged and horrified. Unfortunately in our system there is next to no mechanism for change to occur although the precise opposite is purported. It’s a sick joke to see all of the current New so called political groupings emerging out of the woodwork all in the name of their groupings petty self interest. Calling for ‘change’ and more to the point a redistribution of wealth into their own groupings pockets. This country is so pathetic. The proud word ‘citizen’ has become a pale distorted shadow of itself.


#14

Excellent post, roc.

Democracy breeds an unhealthy co-dependent relationship between the rulers and the ruled. With a senior civil service like ours - and I’m sure it’s similar in other countries, the wranglings of figureheads provide news and little else, while the decisions mostly happen elsewhere. Realistically we should view politicians as the brake on the civil service, but we don’t.
That works better at council level than at national level, I think. There’s greater diversity of class, of gender, of race among local reps than national.


#15

I really like your post ROC. Even though I am in the USA, your feelings mirror my own.


#16

What do you suggest we do?


#17


#18

ft.com/cms/s/0/607b0448-c76d … z2Ua5hLD8M

Five Star Movement flops in Italy’s local polls
By Guy Dinmore in Rome
Local elections across Italy have witnessed a collapse in support for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, with the centre-left Democratic party led by Prime Minister Enrico Letta performing better than expected.


#19

The politics of the Italian terrace. Balotelli, Boatang et al.

More
espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_ … turns-ugly


#20

Great article