The Difference Between a Democracy and a Dictatorship is that Several Arseholes Decide the Rules instead of Just one.
We want the world to be a democracy — We think it is the only way to have a safe and fair government, and we see countries that do not have this as less evolved than us. Perhaps we even see them as needing ‘liberation’.
Countries have always had single leaders who get the final word on which rules to implement. Why is a dictatorship now seen as such a problem?
We hate this idea of dictatorship in the West. We think that everyone needs to get a say on what the rules are. Yet, we subscribe to a system where we get zero choices while remaining shrouded in the illusion of choice.
A single leader can be either brutal or benevolent.
They can also have many advisors, but they get the final say on rules. This way, things are straightforward. In a democracy, a politician can be benevolent and want to bring in a system that benefits the people. The only way they can do this is by agreeing with a less compassionate character to vote on their bill that fracks in national parks in exchange for voting on their benevolent bill. So, they are forced to sell out their values to get anything good done. This is one reason why the system is flawed. Less kind-hearted politicians are wined and dined constantly by corporate lobbyists.
Those who want to do good are frozen by this system and forced to agree to horrendous things to get good things done.
Meanwhile, the people get to choose between two or maybe three ideologies (parties) to decide who gets the more power on the board of horrendously dysfunctional decision making.
Why do we need these middlemen to vote on issues for us? Why can’t we vote on issues directly?
What if people from various backgrounds and political backgrounds got to vote on issues directly from their computers without the interference of corporate lobbyists and political corruption? Wouldn’t that be a purer form of democracy?
Not only is this system of intermediaries subject to corruption and corporate influence, but it is also costly.
In Australia alone, the total cost of maintaining the nation’s 226 federal MPs this year is expected to top $400 million — about $1.8 million each. (The Age). It is no surprise that this keeps going up every year since politician seems to be the only occupation where one gets to vote for ones own pay rise every year.
Perhaps it gives us the warm and fuzzies knowing that a group of suit-wearing lawyers are in a building somewhere looking after our interests. Perhaps not having them there will feel too much like anarchy.
Democracy is a dysfunctional middle man that slows down the process of getting things done and subjects it to state-sanctioned corruption.
We are very quick to point at dictators around the world and the terrible things they do.
“They torture their people”,
“They imprison people for basic things”.
This kind of thing also happens in a democracy, but as its nature is state-sanctioned, we don’t view it as criminal.
Under the democracy of the US, systems like the military-industrial complex are allowed to rise.
This means that politicians are allowed to invest in defence companies and then continuously pursue conflict worldwide, which leads to the tremendous turnover of military equipment and, in turn, tremendous profits for the investors. This massive conflict of interest also leads to enormous civilian casualties. But, because the deaths are foreigners, it just isn’t seen as a problem. The below table from Wikipedia shows civilian casualties from just one of these wars (Iraq) for some time. (If you have bought into the narrative that Wikipedia has no value, you won’t have to look far for a similar table, I’m sure.)
Another system that has been allowed to rise out of democracy is the prison industrial complex.
This second horrendous conflict of interest occurs when people are incarcerated for fundamental things, many for simple cannabis possession. They become part of a system of modern-day slavery that is so slick and advanced, with such a strong narrative that it doesn’t even seem like a problem.
“But, they are criminals?”
Prisoners work full time, forty hours a week. The federal prison industry produces 100 per cent of all military helmets, war supplies and other equipment. The workers supply 98 per cent of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93 per cent of paints and paintbrushes; 92 per cent of stove assembly; 46 per cent of body armour; 36 per cent of home appliances; 30 per cent of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21 per cent of office furniture. Aeroplane parts, medical supplies and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people. (Truthout.org)
Q: How much do inmates get paid for this work?
A: Between 0.90 and $4 a day.
Isn’t democracy supposed to protect us from things like slavery and genocide?
It seems that all it does is blind us to such things by hiding them under the guise of moral justice.
I am not saying that such things can not exist under a dictatorship. Nor am I flagging the benefits of a dictatorship, which also has its flaws. I am saying there is little fundamental difference on the moral level, but only in the complexity of the two systems.
Let’s say we have a single leader who makes all of the rules under consultation from advisors. Whether they do the best for their people is down to their morals as an individual. Throughout history, there have been stories of both brutal and benevolent leaders. If a leader does happen to gracious, a dictatorship will allow them to enact good actions for the people very effectively. The same benevolence in our current system would not be allowed to flourish.
Democracy in its current form is fundamentally flawed and open to corruption. If we were voting on issues directly as people, that might be considered a purer version. This kind of thing, called a referendum, occurs when the flawed system decides it is time. Even then, it is rarely on essential issues such as whether to go to war, but only on things like marriage equality or cannabis legalisation.
Democracy in its current form is worse than a dictatorship. Since no single person is in charge, it leaves the system open to massive corruption and corporate influence. When we look at the corruption that occurs under dictatorships, perhaps we shouldn’t judge the system as the problem but only that the wrong person is in the role. After all, if we can get a benevolent leader that wants the best for everyone, wouldn’t a dictatorship be a more effective model than being at the mercy of corporate lobbyists?