High Life

A Joke Called Democracy

November 09, 2012

Which brings me to the election that took place a day after this writing. The Athenians had it right so very long ago. They figured that the fairest way to ensure everyone had an equal chance to rule the state was through a lottery. So they did just that. The Athenians believed in active participation of the democratic process rather than the way Persians saw government, one in which a benevolent but all-powerful leader looked after them. Until the Greeks, and even after them, rulers were held responsible for their people’s well-being.

We seem to have regressed, as our political leaders promise us everything before and give us absolutely nothing afterward. Machiavelli wrote a handbook on how to gain and keep power by cheating the people. Political leaders worldwide keep the handbook very handy—African leaders especially. They might not be able to read or write, but they have memorized the book. They also kill their opponents, which makes the political system easier.

Most people say they want to be free. But one of the greatest Greek thinkers of all time asks: Free to do what? Freedom from state coercion and interference, or free to shape their future by participating in the governing process by writing the laws and deciding when and if to go to war?

Well, let’s face it. We are not free from the state’s coercion, and we have the surveillance by millions of cameras that watch us at all times to prove it. And we certainly do not have the power to participate in major decisions such as going to war or writing laws. We are sheep led by knaves and con men, and this is why the electoral process we call democracy is one big joke.

 

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