HARGEISA, 27 October 2009 (Somalilandpress) -The concept of democracy has evolved a lot throughout history. One period when there were many new ideas about a democracy is the Enlightenment period. Some important people who expressed these ideas are expressed that, good constitution is called a democracy because the power is in the hands not of a minority (those who govern) but of the whole people.” It means that instead of having one absolute ruler, the government system is run by the people, having everyone equal before the law. It also describes, that it is no of someone’s family status or class that they are put in a position.
We hear a lot about democracy today. Most politicians and their statist sycophants pontificate about the benefits of democracy. On the other end of the spectrum, many free market anarchists’ rail against the evils of democracy. What is the truth about democracy, which some love and claim to be the salvation of civilization, and others love to hate, and claim to be a curse of mankind? Has the institution of democracy been fairly represented, or has it been politicized and subverted to represent something opposite of its actual intent? More importantly, does democracy and anarchy have any common ground?
One of the problems with democracy as a term is that it has several varying “official” definitions, and many more unofficial definitions. The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary has many definitions for democracy, but the one I want to focus on is “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections” (emphasis mine). Also, contrast this to the definition of pure democracy: “democracy in which the power is exercised directly by the people rather than through representatives.” Given these definitions, even the staunchest anarchist might pause to reflect if the basic concept of democracy doesn’t deserve further inspection.
Probably the most commonly accepted unofficial definition of democracy is “one person, one vote.” One has to wonder where such a definition came from. In most definitions of democracy, voting is not mentioned. Where it is mentioned, like in the one I chose, it is not a requirement, only a usual occurrence. Only in the fevered imagination of statists can one find that democracy equates to voting and elections. In a truly Orwellian twist, people have confused the freedom to select tyrants and become absolute slaves to the will of the tyrants as a sign of freedom and democracy. In truth, the opposite happens with voting and elections – the supreme power is wrested from individuals, and invested in representatives. These representatives can then ignore the will of individuals and groups, both majority and minority, and cater to the special interest groups that they really represent. Voting and elections are a sham to steal power from the individual, to cloak the results in the empty skeleton of democracy, having the outward form, but lacking the inner essence. Sadly, most fully embrace this charade and gladly accept their own slavery.
In truth, democracy and anarchy should be complementary ideas. Only by having the supreme power vested in each individual and exercised by each person can democracy and anarchy be fully realized. Instead of the inane statist maxim of “one person, one vote,” it should be “one person, one government.” Individual sovereignty is the only true logical outcome for both democracy and anarchy, and the only path to liberty. But for this to work, people will need to grow up, accept responsibility for their own lives, quit meddling in other people’s affairs that are none of their business, and learn to live by voluntary association and trade. People need to reject the collectivist mindset of the state, disavow any right of the state to use force and coercion, and stop abdicating their sovereignty to the state.
All this shows how easily words and ideas are subverted by the state, and how the state portrays them in a manner that is contradictory to their original intent. When Bush and his criminal cronies expound on the benefits of democracy, freedom, liberty, the rule of law, fighting terrorism, and the free market, one sees that they are using these terms as superficial gloss to hide their criminal activities and mayhem – what they really mean is that they want to use force and coercion, the power of the state, to impose their will on anyone at any time they choose. And not only has the state subverted words and ideas, it has also subverted whole institutions, the mainstream media and public education, to indoctrinate people into accepting the lies and propaganda of the state. While Americans are not really stupid as many would have you believe, as a whole they are extremely gullible and ignorant, and this seems to be by the design of the state and its institutions. These are severe limitations to possess, and are inimical to the exercise of liberty.
[ad#Google Adsense (336×280)]
I want to refer one of my previous articles which considered as an important ideological weapon for the protection and good will of Africa. I.e. The Change That Africa Needs; democracy in Africa as some African authors believe in, it may be necessary to distinguish between ultimate goals and necessary instruments for achieving them. It would make sense for Africa to distinguish between fundamental rights and is an instrumental right designed to help us achieve the open society and freedom of information. By the same token we can distinguish between democracy as means and democracy as goals. The most fundamental of the goals of democracy are probably four in instrumental rights.
The right to vote, for example, is an instrumental right designed to help us achieve the fundamental right of government by consent. The right to a free press in analyzing the prospects number. Firstly, to make the rulers accountable and answerable for their actions and policies. Secondly to make the citizens effective participants in choosing those rulers and in regulating their actions. Thirdly, to make the society as open and the economy as transparent as possible; and fourthly to make the social order fundamentally just and equitable to the greatest number possible. Accountable rulers, actively participating citizens, open society and social justice – those are the four fundamental ends of democracy.
How to achieve these goals has elicited different means. In making the rulers more accountable some democracies (like the United States) have chosen separation of powers and checks and balances, while other democracies (like the United Kingdom) have chosen the more concentrated notion of sovereignty of parliament. These are different means towards making the executive branch more accountable and answerable in its use of power. On the open society, freedom of the press and speech, there is also a difference in how the United States and Great Britain regulate it. The United States has a highly permissive legal system on freedom of speech, but more restrictive public opinion.
The United Kingdom has a more restrictive legal system on freedom of the press, but a more tolerant public opinion. If the goals of democracy are the same while the means for achieving them differ, are there African means of achieving those same four goals of accountability of rulers, participation of the citizens, openness of the society and greater social justice? That is the challenge facing constitution makers in Africa – how to keep the democratic goals constant while looking for democratic means more appropriate to Africa. The second big issue about democracy in Africa concerns its relationship to development. On this relationship between democracy and development in Africa, one crucial question has persisted. Is Africa underdeveloped because it is primarily undemocratic? Or is Africa undemocratic because it is primarily underdeveloped? Which is cause and which is effect?
There is a third dimension which is often treated either as part of the package of development or as part of the package of democracy, when in fact it should be treated as a kind of independent variable. The third dimension is stability – a social-political precondition for both sustainable development and durable democracy. Africa’s three greatest needs are development, democracy and stability – but not necessarily in that order. Alleviation of poverty is one of the fruits of democratized development. Alleviation of poverty is one of the gains when democracy and development are jointly stabilized and truly humanized. How has Africa been faring in these areas of development, democratization, stabilization and the fruit of alleviation of poverty? First let us explore what these words mean.
What does development mean, for example? Economists naturally focus on issues like resource flows, levels of economic diversification, domestic mobilization of savings and investment, national productivity and per capita income. And yet high levels of performance in those areas are achieved only after other measurements of development have already taken place. The most crucial may be partly cultural rather than purely economic. Development in promoting performance and mobilization of domestic savings and investment capital may need to be preceded by development in the following areas:
I. Enhancement of managerial skills.
II. Transformation of Gender-Relations between men and women as producers.
III. A redefinition of the work-ethic as a discipline of the education system. Colonialism damaged the work ethic among African males much more than among African females.
IV. A redefinition of the laws and rules about corruption to make them more culturally viable. For example, certain forms of ethic nepotism should be treated with greater understanding than certain forms of bribery. Lighter penalties for nepotism and tougher penalties for bribery may be needed. Ethnic favoritism should be regulated rather than outlawed.
V. Reforms of Africa’s schools and universities to make them more skill-relevant and more culturally-relevant.
Think-Tank and Political Analyst