Democracy is Overrated Take 2
Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” I’m sure people haven’t gotten any smarter in the last half-century, and neither has democracy. I know some people still think that democracy is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I sure don’t see the evidence of it. Really, what has democracy done for you lately?
Do you ever remember a time when democracy worked? I sure don’t. Would we be in the mess we’re in if democracy really worked? Face it; elections don’t solve anything. They never have and they never will. Elections didn’t stop sectarian violence in Iraq. Elections didn’t stabilize Afghanistan, and elections didn’t satisfy Egyptian protesters.
Here in this country, elections didn’t stop the Vietnam war, prevent the invasion of Iraq, or stop the bank bailout. Despite the massive grassroots mobilization that put Obama in the White House, not only does the prison at Guantanamo Bay remain open, but the government now claims the right to kill US citizens anywhere in the world without trial, and the NSA listens to all of our phone calls.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will be arrested for simple possession of marijuana this year, and Federal agents continue to raid state sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries, despite the fact that over 80% of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana as medicine, and a majority of Americans favor legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.
Income inequality continues to grow, along with poverty, homelessness, and prison populations, as the rich help themselves to more and more, while the rest of us fight over what few crumbs they leave behind. Does that sound like democracy is working?
Clearly at the national level, democracy has failed us, but what about at the local level? I sure haven’t seen much evidence of democracy working at the local level either. Whether we’re talking about mayors, city councils, county supervisors, or even the boards of directors of community non-profit organizations, I’ve seen plenty of corruption, cynical political manipulation and pandering to a monied minority at every level of democracy, haven’t you?
If you think you know of someplace where democracy seems to be working, I encourage you to get more involved. It won’t take long before you find the disaffected, oppressed and silenced factions, the two-faced hypocrisy, and the clique that operates with impunity, using “democracy” as a fig leaf. I guarantee it.
Yes, democracy has failed us completely, but we sure don’t let that stop us from spending gobs of money on it. On the contrary, “democracy” has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry. Besides the billions of dollars that get spent directly election campaigns, thousands of “activists” use the obvious failure of democracy to raise more money to help “reform” democracy, and somehow “return the power to the people”, as if the people ever had any power in this democracy.
Despite their best efforts, the environmental crisis only gets worse, economic oppression and injustice continue unabated, violence and warfare escalate while civil-rights and the social safety-net steadily erode. But hey, we still have democracy, and since you have the right to vote, you only have yourself to blame, right?
Every two or four years, a new crop of candidates promises to make big changes and to “put the people back in charge of government”, but as soon as they get elected, it’s back to business as usual. How long has this been going on? Only 250 years or so. How stupid could we be?
Really, why would anyone consent to be governed? Only an idiot would trade real freedom for a meaningless vote, personal autonomy for institutionalized oppression or a place in the natural world for economic servitude to corporate interests. Democracy only looks good when you compare it to tyranny. Compared to freedom, autonomy and equality, democracy is just another scam designed to dupe the stupid and insecure into subservience.
Besides failing its citizens, democracy wastes economic resources as well. The 2012 presidential election cost billions of dollars, much of which got spent on misleading negative campaign ads that nobody wanted to see. Senate and congressional races cost millions of dollars each, and even at the local and state level, many candidates spend over a million dollars to get elected. In 2012 Monsanto spent 47 million dollars to defeat a grassroots California initiative that would require foods made with genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such, outspending the citizens groups that sponsored the initiative 12 to 1.
Today, grassroots organizations capitalize on people’s disgust with our political system by raising money from ordinary citizens to “take big money out of politics”. They promote publicly funded elections, or even a constitutional amendment to “end corporate personhood”. This kind of nonsense only adds to the high cost of a worthless democracy, and discourages people from taking meaningful action to secure their own freedom and autonomy.
Lots of people have found ways to take this democracy scam to the bank. Besides the billions of dollars in campaign contributions, lots of tax dollars get spent on pointless elections that don’t solve anything. Voting machines, poll workers, election commissioners, ballots, sample ballots, polling places, signs, “I Voted” stickers all cost money. None of them do us any good.
Polling companies make big money on elections too. Campaigns hire polling companies to see how people respond to their candidate. Companies hire polling companies to see how people respond to their ads, and the media hire more polling companies so they can ignore the issues and instead report on the election as though it were a horse race.
A good polling company can tell you how any election will turn out by making 1,000 phone calls to carefully selected households. With so many polling companies asking the American people what they want or don’t want, why do we need to hold elections at all? Just take a poll. If the poll says Americans want marijuana legalized, then legalize marijuana. If the poll says Americans want genetically modified food labeled, then label the food. If the poll says Americans are disgusted with Congress, disband the Congress. Forget about turnout, likely voters, or “get out the vote” efforts, let the statisticians and supercomputers at the polling companies do something useful for a change.
Besides that, the media makes plenty of hay out of elections, with political talk shows, election coverage, and endless hours and column inches of news reporting devoted to political coverage. None of it does any good. To the media, politics is just a sport played by old rich white guys. It’s like golf, except that it’s even more boring and they use money and voters instead of clubs and a ball. They rarely tell us anything useful about the candidate or the issues, but yammer endlessly about the polls and statistics. Just like sports, the media never stops talking about it, and ultimately, none of it really matters.
Really, none of it matters; who wins, who loses, what party they’re in or who backs them. The only thing that matters is how much, and how many of us, believe in it. As long as we consent to be governed, and trade our freedom for a ballot, they’ve got us stuck in a game we can’t win.
Look at Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign. Obama mobilized a massive grassroots movement for democratic change. His campaign built a movement that was orders of magnitude bigger than the Occupy Movement, primarily because it had orders of magnitude more money. That was a huge movement that mobilized an enormous amount of resources. How much difference did it make?
What did we get for our trouble? Obamacare, drone strikes, and wiretaps for all. Economically, that’s a lousy return on our investment. For the cost of that election, we could have ended poverty in America, and for the the amount of effort it took, we could have built enough housing to end homelessness too, but instead, we played politics and nothing got solved, and things went from bad to worse.
How many unified nationwide grassroots movements will it take to make meaningful change through the democratic system at that rate? Dozens? Hundreds? How many unified grassroots movements of the magnitude of Obama’s 2008 campaign would ever happen without the money of the 1% behind it? Not many, I’m afraid, probably none, so face facts, the democratic system is a scam, a hoax and a myth, and an expensive one at that.
I’ve witnessed five decades of lies, violence, idiocy and corruption, and for at least the last 30 years, five presidents, three Republicans and two Democrats have completely sold 99% of us out to the 1%. You’d think by now we’d realize that no matter which party they represent, what they promise, or how they talk on the campaign trail, electing politicians doesn’t solve anything.
All of the problems that I remember as a child; pollution, poverty, deforestation, overfishing and technological warfare, have only gotten worse, and we have a whole bunch of new problems, like Global Climate Change, homelessness, unaffordable health care, and an uber-class that sucks the life out of everything. That doesn’t sound to me like democracy works. It sure doesn’t feel like democracy works. It might work for somebody, if they can afford to buy themselves a piece of it, but it doesn’t work for me, or anyone I know.
I’m not saying that saying that communism or socialism or even monarchy or dictatorship would improve things, I’m saying that the only thing that all 300 million of us can agree on, is that the majority of Americans are idiots. Democracy is the process whereby we let those idiots run the country.
Yes, democracy amounts to a dictatorship of the dumb, a gulag of the gullible and a republic of the retarded. Forget about the nonsense that it takes an intelligent, informed public for democracy to succeed. Democracy succeeds by turning stupidity into power that only money can wield. It’s time to face the fact that, like communism, democracy seems like a great theory, but it really doesn’t work in reality, either.