The Dead Liar

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The Flaws of Democracy

The Flaws of Democracy

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a not-so-great king lived somewhere. The most powerful in his lands, he could do anything he pleased. Then after him came his family and friends, who also could do anything they wanted as long as it didn’t conflict in interest with the king himself. And then came the people, the majority of whom were poor and could thus only work. They were not educated and they did not care about anything else save their work. But that was for a reason, the times were hard. The farmers and workers had to work hard for little and had to pay a hell lot of taxes on top of that. And even then, the king could easily come onto the village, impregnate a girl, and leave. He could beat and even kill someone if he wanted and nothing would happen to him. Or his son. So one day the people lost it. They overthrew the king and exiled him. But now the country as a whole had to be managed by someone. But who???? So they decided among themselves and put together a group of people who were good and popular. Early democracy was born.

Over the number of years and centuries, democracy has only grown. To such an extent that it is now considered as the most evolved of all forms of politics. The rapid expansion of democratic policy, especially in the last 300 years can be traced back to the bill of rights introduced in Britain 1700s, which essentially established each person as a member of the government itself. Also ensuring that the minority, and later the women also were represented in the government itself, meaning they ideally would not be oppressed as before anymore. Abraham Lincoln’s “for the people, by the people, to the people” gave the policy a definition on the back of which the policy expanded to over 195 countries in less than 200 years. This expansion was almost always supported by The USA, a bastion of democratic idealism, at times even militaristically. Though opposed by the socialist idealism until the 1980s, the fall of the USSR ultimately proved that democracy was the most stable form of governance.

At the turn of the century, however, a new page has also turned in the book of democracy. After more than 250 years of glorious expansion, it seems the growth of democracy has finally stopped. Worse still, it seems that the growth is going in reverse, with some countries even reverting back to the autocratic regime that the very same people had fought against just a few decades back. It was assumed that democracy was the political synonym for freedom, and once one was under such a form of governance it would not be thrown away easily. The western hemisphere, as a whole, has established this idea. The fall of democracy in several countries along with a decrease in the democratic index in already established countries can be considered significant.  The recent downgrading of the United States of America from a full democracy to flawed democracy has further alienated the idea of the supremacy of democracy.

In theory, a government made by the people should have no flaws. Especially since there is provision of changes in a fixed number of years. If the elected does not do what they are supposed to do, then in the next election they can be kicked out and a better person can be elected. It might be slow, but power cannot be abused, since they cannot stay in power without the support of people. In fact, they cannot even be elected without said support. And since the rights of the minority are to be respected by the nation they are not oppressed in a truly democratic nation.

The flaw that this author has tried to speak of lies not in the idea of democracy but loopholes in its execution that permits and sometimes even promotes people of less desirable characters to come forward. The election of certain people who seem to rule only for a certain group of people and actively disregard the concerns of others has undermined all values of democracy. The author presents some scenarios which made this possible.

Scenario 1: The Majority Game

A country A has a total population of 1000. Of these 1000, 990 are vegetarian. 10 like to eat meat. So basically, country A is a vegetarian country. Vegetarians by default would not like to mix their food with any form of meat product since it would make their food inedible. Also, of these 990, let’s say 200 condemn animal violence, because who doesn’t?? Of these 200, 50 don’t even like meat eaters as they feel that eating meat is direct evidence of animal violence. It infuriates them when they see meat in supermarkets. Now they were so upset about it, that they started a petition condemning animal violence. The 200 would easily support them. The rest of the vegetarians, who have no such feelings, will be divided. Let’s say by 50-50. So now we have about 700 in favor of banning meat from supermarket and about 300 opposed to it. Even those in opposition won’t be fighting very hard since they don’t even eat meat anyway. Now the president, being a people’s representative, has to address the people’s wishes and ban said products. Now the meat-eaters have no place to buy meat. So they are forced to not eat meat, or migrate to another place. One might argue that vegetarian diet is more healthy but it is fundamental to note that

a) such diet, even if harmful(which it is not), does not affect others and

b) by enforcing such a ban, the country has effectively stepped on the very foundations of democracy that it has promised to uphold.

Furthermore, since the 10 people living do not have sufficient vote to every get elected, being outnumbered by at least 20:1 regarding this ban, they will never be able to overturn said ban.

Scenario 2: The Money Game.

In a separate country, Country B, we have two candidates for an upcoming election. Country B is an average country with a lot of poor and few rich. Candidate X is the more popular one, educated, charming and well regarded throughout. Candidate Y is also less well regarded, with numerous scandals and several flaws in characters. What candidate Y has is a lot of money. So when the election comes near, candidate Y knows that he cannot win by traditional means. Thus he exploits the poor. Where candidate X says he will build a school, candidate Y says he will donate 100 dollars to whoever votes him. He even throws away a few dollars just for effect. Where candidate X says he will work to ease all public work, candidate Y says he will give government jobs to those who vote him. Where candidate X says he will invest in the future, candidate Y says he will use his vast wealth to create an effect now. He even uses underhand tactics to demotivate those who understand his tactics. Those who are well educated or knowledgeable would understand what is happening. But for the vast majority of the poor, for whom every living day is a miracle, candidate Y is nothing short of a god. And thus when the election comes, Candidate Y would win with a fair amount.

The best part for candidate Y is that he doesn’t even have to fulfill his promises. The poor will go on the way they always were. It’s not like they could take away his throne.

Scenario 3: The Blame Game

Country C has two major political parties, party A and party B. Both parties have good politicians and bad politicians. Both Parties have more or less equal popularity. Both parties have party policies, some of which are good and some of which are bad. Party A won the last election. As a ruling party, they started making some new laws, which could affect some people negatively. Party B starts opposing the idea and condemns party A. They highlight all the negative aspects of the present government. They start a campaign based on that which wins them the next election. They dismantle all the previous policies and start new ones. Some of which affect some people negatively. Party A opposes. They start a campaign.

Liking another party’s policy, however nice may lead to the increased popularity of the opposing party. Thus the cycle will never end.

Tyranny is never the answer. If one person is given ultimate power, sooner or later everyone corrupts. However, the implementation of democracy, the way it is going now, has obvious problems as well. The only solution lies in the people, who constitute democracy. Only when all people know and use their votes for the right cause shall democracy be prevailed forever, and the essence of freedom lives as long as human beings are around.

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