For thousands of years now, perched smugly atop the agenda of political philosophers and thinkers of society and governance, as the crown jewel of human social progress, has been one thing: democracy. What democracy ought to be, who democracy ought to apply to, what democracy hopes to achieve and why; democracy has been the recipient of millennia of academic devotion. Plato, in his infinite wisdom, hated it.
He hated it because of the same reason you would hate for anyone but a qualified captain to be sailing your ship through dangerous seas: because anyone but a qualified captain stands to make some bad decisions that may very well endanger your life.
And boy, what a smorgasbord of life endangering accolades we can attribute to “democracy” and this lust the west has had for it over the last couple of thousand years; let’s not forget the Nazis were voted into power. Let’s not forget that all western military intervention in the middle east was pioneered by elected leaders, none of whom ever saw fit to ask the people their opinions on the subject (or just ignored their reservations when they did).
Funny that, how democracy is so very sought after by liberal “democracies” as a mechanism to power, but how it is ignored as a megaphone of popular voice. Liberal democracies only ever use democracy, really, as a platform upon which a certain person, party or people can gain power, can gain control. It is sold as this idea that the people get the ultimate say in who rules over them, who makes political decisions on their behalf regarding everything from infrastructure to international affairs.
And it is this salesmanship that has seen us revere democracy for thousands of years, worshiping it as an idea of freedom and choice, defending it as an idea with our lives and the lives of our children. At least after all the bloodshed, after the centuries of refinement, of conflict and change, we have found ourselves atop the el-dorado-like mountain of political advancement that is the full realisation of democracy. At least now we are free from tyrannical masters, free from oppression, from terrible, un-ordained top down decisions being thrust upon us and changing the face of our society and our way of life with no consent from the people. Right?
Wrong. Exhausting my capacity for sarcasm, as I so often do discussing and debating subjects like democracy, I will cut to the chase: it is broken. We have found ourselves with a tyrannical master under the guise of democracy, namely liberal democracy. We may not live in a technical one-party state- a famous measure of the potency of a dictatorship and a pre-requisite for a totalitarian state- but we do live in a one ideology state; a place where only one ideology will certainly triumph, regardless of the party voted into power.
We life in a place- a hemisphere, really – where the only ideology that any electorate has a chance of ascending to the top job is that of Western Liberal Democracy. How then, can it ever be argued that we actually have a choice? Going onestep further, how can it be argued that we actually have a say in anything but the whip hand the job of whom it will be to thrust western liberalism and the broken values within upon the poor and docile electorate? Western Liberal Democracies always produce broadly the same political narratives, the same political issues, often the same political soundbites regarding them and the same political non-solutions to these issues.
Immigration? Diversity is our strength (nothing on the clash of culture immigration in the modern volumes it has been witnessed brings). Islam? We need to eradicate “islamophobia” and racism on a whole (not acknowledge the very real concerns raised by the moderate right regarding Islamification of a society). Health? It must be available to all at the cost of the state: there is no such thing as positive “privatisation” (apparently). Housing? We need to focus on building more, affordable homes (no mention of over-population nor the ticking demographic timebomb overpopulation brings). Education? We all need to be more educated! NO EXCEPTIONS! What constitutes “more educated”, you ask? Well, obviously, more degree level students, more state taught minds (laughably).
The debates are often passive, created only to pacify western anxiety about how nice and morally superior we lust after being, and Western Liberal Democracy has an amazing capacity to appease voters, just enough for it as a doctrine to remain palpable to them. It appeals to weakness and peoples’ perceptions of being “weak” or feeling sorry or sad for those they perceive as “weak” (the homeless, the “poor”, frightened migrants, ethnic minorities, fat people etc), and taps into them to justify its on paper altruistic intentions as an ideology and a political system.
In reality though, Western Liberal Democracy only ever achieves one thing: power. For some party or person, power is granted through the omnipotent will of the people and as such, the power granted enjoys complete immunity from critique. The menace within Western Liberal Democracy lies in its neo liberal economic roots, its celebration of capital and capitalism and its intricate and deceitful use of the rhetoric surrounding capitalism to sell us a vision (ironic, I know) of a world where social justice and elitist capitalism can live in harmony. They can’t. More importantly, they shouldn’t.
Social justice- social liberalism, the broad church of the often ill defined “leftism”, socialism or whatever you’d like to call it- strives to cater for weakness, and in its western liberal democratic manifestation, shapes our mentality to look for false compassions, and justifies making concessions for our ways of life with the ultimate selfless goal of catering for the weak (or as Western Liberal Democracy sees fit to explain them, the less fortunate).
Capitalism, conversely, valiantly encourages ruthless competition. It is asphyxiated by the false compassions of social liberalism, limited by the idea engineered by the avid social liberal that somehow, it is intrinsically our job to help others with the fruits of our own labour, our own plight, our own fight through life. That it is the job of the private citizen and private capital to provide social care for those that refuse to step up to the mark, or are simply lacking the capacity.
Western Liberal Democracies use these two principles- that we should provide for everyone but also that the state has nothing to do with your capacity or scope for success- allows them to engineer rhetoric cleverly to build upon the principles of both, in order to cater to the perceived political mood of the time regardless of the political leanings of the party which at its core, champions western liberal democracy.
It allows the “conservative party” to increase taxation or social welfare or public funding to the NHS, justified by this pandering to the poor, and the arrogant idea that even including socialist policy won’t be enough to push Tory voters to Labour. It allows the Labour party to commit to increasing migration, increase taxation, introduce new taxes and bail out erratic and bold, bullish banks with taxpayer’s money when they over step the boundaries of capitalism because of this aversion they have to self-inflicted failure, and still rely on the working class vote because they won’t for love nor money vote Tory.
People WONT vote for a certain party even though the reality of either being in power is essentially a slightly left or a slightly right flavoured Western Liberalism. The same ideology has a complete monopoly on the electorate, and yet because we are sold it under the guise of democracy, we are happily shrouded in the illusion of choice. The devil in democracy is his deceit, the fact that putting more people in charge of something they don’t understand gives the democratically elected a carte blanche to do whatever they like, with the constant retort that it is what the people wanted.
But then, when democracy is fully realised, with a simple yes/ no option to a straight forward yes/no question voted on by over 70% of the population eligible to vote, and a decision is brought to us that directly challenges the monopoly, the vice like grasp Western Liberal Democracy has on our political landscape, such as ohh, I don’t know, a vote on leaving the European Union, suddenly the exact same democracy exercised to the maximum potency we as a nation are capable of producing is in fact toxic. Suddenly, it needs second guessing, it needs a second vote because we weren’t so sure on the first.
The first vote, the one which every single possible force- from the British Government to the President of the USA- that could do culminated together to tell us about how damaging and chaotic, how cataclysmic and devastating it would be to leave. The one which saw the most vocal, diverse and well publicised political campaign from both sides in generations- possibly ever- was not voted upon accurately. Nope. People were deceived by the nasty Nigel Farage and the evil racists of VoteLeave. The simplest question in the world with the most in depth and complex campaign warfare ever was beyond the capacity of the British electorate to assuredly andinformedly vote on. Democracy, eh?
As such, we find ourselves now drowning in the ever-social-media-vocal campaign for a second referendum, a referendum upon which Western Liberal Democracy and the spineless centrist politicians that romanticize it hope to cling on to its strangle hold on the free thought and free minds of the British people. A referendum where the Western Liberal Democratics amongst us hope to be the ones that make the electorate realise that they are in fact stupid and unqualified to make the right decision first time round, and as such convince them that referendum after referendum after referendum is necessary until we see the error of our ways and make the noble, right choice.
Herein lies the flaw of democracy, and herein is where we see through the vaneer of valliance: It is a bitter principle, a principle that inspires anger when it doesn’t go the way it should have. Not so much in general elections; since enfranchisement, it has been instilled into us that the votes cast, counted and banked are gospel and that, under the first past the post system, we are to accept the results (which are changeable over time and as such, the parties looking at gaining our support must keep their manifestos current and palpable) until the next time when we can change them. The promise of perpetual change is the promise of hope, the notion that the current regime is only temporary and as such is no cause for real, lasting concern or a revolt. It is enough to quell any uneasy sentiment within the electorate, and it also produces a smokescreen, behind which hides the reality that actually, in a two party one ideology state, change will not come without revolution.
When that revolution is the weapon of democracy wielded by the electorate, and the ballot is the electorate pulling the trigger, all of a sudden democracy becomes potentially permanent and the political tide stands to change drastically, for good. Brexit, along with the election of Trump, signifies the end of globalism, which in itself signifies the beginning of a huge revolution, one which Western Liberal Democracy will not survive. Democracy is now being used as justification to overturn itself: it is imploding. It, as a political principle has been revealed as incompatible with most western political systems, having been manipulated at will by the elites that control its usage. Catalonian independence, for example; a vote passed by elected members of a representative house, was shunned by the wider global (and specifically, European) establishment.
Democracy failed the Catalonian people, and it continues to fail us. The more freedom we have to use it, the more abstract the cause democracy is used to settle or decide, the more the established order shows resistance. As soon as democracy- the act of giving the people a say in the decision on an issue- begins to deviate from the established Western Liberal plan, it is stricken from the record as a pipe dream or simply over ruled as an outlier in the trajectory of democratic history. Democracy only works as a tool to pacify the human lust we all have to have an input into how we are ruled as a people, in a society like ours. Western Liberal Democracy is vindictive, and it is on its knees. There will be more political unrest and much more change to come on the ideological journey towards its demise.
The only possible way Western Liberalism can preserve the integrity of democracy as it has been sold, is for a multi ideological political landscape to evolve, of at least four parties, each with the potential to come into power, each with tangibly different and proud ideological positions; a reality not too far off should the left of Labour and the right of the Tories branch off into two new parties, a possibility any gambling man would put a quid on in today’s political climate. The open critique of ideas and an open, honest dialogue surrounding said critiques- something only very cautiously allowed by Western Liberal Democracy- is something we should enthusiastically encourage in our society, and we need to stop these supposed Liberal Democratic values which we have instilled into us at school, work and home, being so dogmatically practiced and thrust upon us in the face of any deviating political discussion.