Monday, June 30, 2008

Democracy in Practice

Democracy is a nice ideal, but hard to achieve in reality.

Since full consensus is impossible in reality, the rule of a simple majority is but a symbolic token of the high ideal of democracy.

Even so, a fair simple majority is so hard to get. Zimbabwe today is a case in point, where so much human suffering is engineered just for one man to dominate the politics. Examples abound in other countries.

Domination comes when a man stays too long, and has the time to control the system.

That is wisdom in limiting the top positions to one term or two terms.

We only have to suffer their greatness or incompetence for a short time; the great ones so that they do not become arrogant and destroy the society, and the bad ones so that they stink and destroy the whole society.

Don't trust people, build a good system.

How about the argument that in a small society, there are not enough talents to go round. My answer is: when there is opportunity, talents will come forward.

The term may be too short for the leader to accomplish anything. That's the idea: Not to give the person time to do anything. The people should have the opportunity to do something for themselves; and the system should do the work.


ctchoolaw said...

The principles expounded are very sound. Those are the core values that underpin modern democracy as expressed by the Federalist papers. The only problem is in Asia & Africa, even learned and educated politicians become tinpot dictators. It is easy to say that the people let these leaders become dictatorial & let them have a vast arsenal of power. But the truth is more likely to be the absence of checks and balances. The thing we should look out for and argue is, how to reinstate and give full flower to the system of checks and balances. We can't trust even ourselevs with absolute power. It is too tempting to take the easy way of jailing all dissenters with trumped-up charges, way too easy.

etheorist said...

True, true, ctchoolaw.

Separating the judiciary from the executive is a good first step.

Taking the Minister of Finance portfolio away from the PM is a good second step.

Making the Central Bank more accountable for inflation and the exchange rate is a good third step.

ben said...

It took us 50years for this change to take place. I think this is due to a more educated population and internet era.

As time progresses, the increase in educated polulation will be a more effective check and balance.

This will eventually force the political parties to focus on non-communcal policies rather than race and religion.