Blog of Mass Distraction

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Democracy, now?

The people of Ukraine are up in arms over the fraud perpetrated during their federal election. Incumbent Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych apparently won the crooked against opposition candidate Victor Yushenko. The improprieties by the incumbent party have sparked revolt in the country and sympathy from Ukranian protesters in western countries as well as condemnation from many in the international community... except Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia is of course the one unquestioned soviet ally of Ukraine; the two countries were as reflexively supportive as, oh say Israel and the United States. The two candidates are now in negotiations, but Yushenko went ahead and declared himself the leader since he supposedly had the majority of the actual vote. Yushenko happens to be the pro-European candidate, and he also happens to be really ugly. Just a few months ago he had a handsome and youthful appearance, and since his face has become swollen, haggard, puffy and pock-marked and topped with greying hair. The change is damn near unbelievable; and the candidate says it was caused by poison. Others say poison is unlikely and may be the result of some condition brought on by stress.

All this talk of democracy, and its apparent failings... why the majority of Americans would elect George Bush when he is clearly worse for the safety and future of them and their country. Churchill once said that democracy is the worst of all political systems, except for all the rest. As many problems as there are, I am a firm believer in democracy. Though I do think there are fundamental problems with the
way our democracy, and western democracies in general, are implemented. While there is much discussion about the electoral college, proportional democracies and direct voting, I think all of these democracies and our own democracy could work effectively with one major change. The biggest complaint that many philosophers had against democracy was that you can't allow choices in governance to be decided by the unwashed masses, or rather the uneducated masses. The argument is fairly simple, that people without an understanding or concept of governance and what it takes to be a good leader should really have nothing to do with actually picking a good leader. While I have to say that I find this a compelling argument, I still believe democracy can work, I just think it requires that the populace be educated properly. This is one of the reasons I so heavily support education and understanding, because I think it's fundamental to proper governance for everyone. I believe that education should be concomitant with democratic systems, and not just any education but one that emphasizes rational thought, critical analysis and an understanding of the system of governance (of course this would be in addition to the regular educational curriculum).
The best system of governance is a monarchy, as long as
Marcus Aurelius is king.


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