Wayne Holland: Nothing in Particular


Democracy

If everyone has a voice, then no one does.

 

I grow weary of all the hoopla over democracy. It is all too easy to get the impression that we are taking excessively great efforts to impress our own form of government on the entire world.

As if the rest of the world even cares.

Personally, I don't much care for democracy. It places far too much of a burden on the common man.

I suspect that the great majority, if they were truly honest about it, would admit to bearing the same attitude.

Let us be brutally honest here. The common herd simply has way too much on its plate to bother with thinking about something so tedious as properly running a government. They have excessive money and sordid sex to think about, not to mention professional sports, fashionable clothing, keeping up with celebrities and so on. Let somebody else, some geek dude, handle the government.

And we must surely admit that it is not exactly the most efficient form of government either. The whole process brings to mind that which we call the common areas of a neighborhood, like the devil's strip, for example, that little piece of dirt between the sidewalk and the street. Technically, it is not a part of your property, in spite of the fact that you are expected to maintain it. (In real estate terms it is referred to as an easement.)

Common areas of neighborhoods (as well as streets and highways) have one thing in common (pardon the pun): nobody owns them. Do you know why? Because everybody owns them. Therein lies a principle:

if everybody owns it, then nobody does.

We are well justified to embrace the same position on democracy. If everyone has a voice (which seems to be the big selling point of democracy), then no one does.

It requires but the briefest examination of previous presidential elections to note how divided the country seems forever to be.

Virtually half the electorate prefers one candidate to the other, which makes it painfully apparent that everyone's vote is simply canceling everyone else's, which means (or so it would seem) that we are being effectively disenfranchised. The effect of voting renders voting ineffective.

But without question, the strongest support for the argument against democracy lies in the fact that the founding fathers were adamantly opposed to it. They most definitely did not want the masses having too much of a hand in determining the direction of the country. (It has been less than a hundred years, remember, since women acquired the right to vote.) Most of them preferred something along the lines of an aristocracy, government by the best (as opposed to the masses, who—I have often been assured—are the asses).

I am myself inclined to the aristocratic model of government, which, in my opinion, is what we actually have. We merely give lip service to the word democracy. The masses seem to take heart at its mere utterance. We ingratiate their restless souls by saying it so much, a form, you might say, of throwing the doggie a bone.

Yes, when we take a hard look at it, it is readily apparent that we do not really have a democracy. Not really. We have an aristocracy—of the wealthy. If you doubt it, you need but conduct but a brief investigation, whose objective it would be to locate a single poor person who is currently serving as a state or federal legislator.

This is of course an absurd suggestion, since the system is designed to ensure that only the wealthy may obtain such positions.

Government is a game that only the wealthy can play.

All the praise for democracy that seems incessantly strewn about is little more than the misdirection of the magician's patter.

At very least, we have but an elitist democracy, which is actually an aristocracy of the wealthy (and big business).

And they have a game they love to play. It's called running for office. They dupe us into participating in the whole charade by offering us the "freedom" to vote. They stage obscenely expensive popularity contests amongst themselves and preach to the masses that they are actually doing something truly important by participating in the game, encouraging them to raise their voices for the rich person they would have "serve" them in the halls of government, a rich person who rarely does anything they promise to do. From beginning to end, it is nothing but sham and pretense.

The best, and wisest, course of action for the masses consists in their outright refusal to participate in this game, of, by and for the wealthy. If we continue to ignore them, they just might go away.

September 28, 2004


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