Though the American Democracy experiment was said to be exceptionally different in her initial 150 or so years,today, conditions of democracy is more or less same there too, if close angle-experiences of ordinary citizens are to be believed.Prof Noam Chomsky once explained his experience;He wrote a book on the wrong foreign-policy of American govt. He found his publisher himself vanishing from business soon-after ! A safe and silent way of killing dissent and opposition !
Democracy has turned altogether a specialized and different institution for OCCUPYING the old,coveted seats of Kings by members of ordinary-public,but who have become a class-apart from people for the very business of RULING nations and controlling its immense power and wealth !
If not for power and wealth, it is for establishing a particular kind of society with an upper-hand for a particular religion or cultural-ideology, as India witness these days under her current govt.( 2015-16, predominantly a Hindu-life system seeking regime, under prime-minister Narendra Modi) Democracy has become a passive tool for such peoples' groups, to use high-tech electioneering techniques to woo people, and gain a majority to form POWER-STATES. Brute power of majority could then be used to establish their kind of govt, and then seek to spread their kind of ideology by the force of straight propaganda, or by the force of law, or by the help of an obliging police force,or by the brute-strength of large enthusiastic-masses who are too wiling to share power of the state, by acting as their foot-soldiers in suppressing dissent and opposition !
The current American experience
It will be an injustice to this deliberation if we do not bring-in the recent American experience with Democracy; President Trump got elected following all the existing rules and tradition of Democracy, the people's own, coveted political system.But now, a good number of the countrymen find it unbelievable, how the country elected him! They now feel that the new man will be an embarrassment to them in long run, with his policies, temperament, and way of work vis-a-vis the nations proclaimed tenets of human liberty and general humane-values.
They forget, that the guy has got elected per norms of the system of Democracy.How can they ignore that? What they, being the oldest democracy in the world, must seek to do is to recheck the system's basics,norms,rules and value-system, tradition etc, and do everything possible to PREVENT loopholes,norms,values and traditions that could lead to such men, even more dangerous than him, comimg to POWER quite legally!
It will not be untrue at all if we say that, modern-day democracy with its existing myths and norms around its excessively politicized avatar is a GREAT social evil, or a social malady, at par with similar social evils of the past, like witch-hunt and slave-trade in Europe, and Sati, ( practice of wife jumping into the funeral pyre of the husband as a custom) caste-system and child-marriage in India, needed to be abolished and banned !
In a recent article, ( March 25, 2015) an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Mr. Abhinav Kumar wrote an article ( 'Sad day for the pompous' ) in the leading Indian Newspaper' Indian Express', wherein he was straight and blunt about the ground reality of modern democracy:
" In today's India, once elected, politicians prefer to behave neither like representatives not like delegates of the people. They prefer to see them-selves as RULERS and MASTERS, and must be treated as such especially by pliant, supine law-enforcement agencies"
What had been intended to protect the weak from the strong has turned out to be an institutionalized scheme of things to strengthen the hands of the strong, and to shut-off the avenues of the weak to rise up and protest the violations of his rights. Now the institutionalized scheme of things could brand the protests as sedition, and jail the weak.
Certain examples emerging from certain pockets of democracy should baffle future generations as to how our generation had celebrated it as Peoples' form of Govt: Coomi Kapoor, a senor-journalist with the leading Indian news-paper Indian Express narrated a story from the southern State of Tamil-Nadu:( Sunday,21st Feb,2016,Delhi issue) " Jayalalithaa's ( Chief-Minister of the State) method of selecting candidates (for elections in the state, under her Party's ticket) is truly imperious.All the hopefuls from a particular area are herded into one room, and prostrate themselves when she enters". In many states as well at center,successor to the present Ruler is chosen by the previous head of the state,most of the time from his/her family, or from the small coterie.
Democracy is said to be mankind’s last of governmental systems. No other superior system is waiting in the future. So, we have to either improve it, or get annihilated with it! Without doubt, peoples' lives are not anything greater than that in the older versions of a government, but much worse, as we have seen above. Hence, this enlightened age has to probe into the causes that have made democracy a tragedy.
We attempt here to point-out why this generation must try to REINVENT it, to do justice to our celebrated sense of intelligence and Reason:
This law for 'a citizens' right to be heard' was more fundamental than RTI, (Right for information Act) because when such a law exists, the need for the latter would only have randomly arisen.
As a system of governance, democracy is not different in any way from the old regimes, except in the fact that the evil practice of authoritarian governance is now enacted within peoples' own class and status.
Political parties spend millions on propaganda, and mind manipulation techniques to win the elections. Fighting the elections has become one of the most complex entrepreneurial tasks that politicians have to learn in the 'state craft', under democracy. The recent trend is that, elections are won on sheer power of rhetoric.Why rhetoric when nations have a sensible document called constitution,and good governance is nothing but its sincere implementation in letter and spirit ?
It has all the features of a typical capitalistic enterprise in the business world. The spirit of democracy is more about the professional politicians' dream about entering into the business, and more relevantly, the DREAM of RULING A COUNTRY, with all its mythical attractions and gains! (Do visit our blog for further insights;http://influxofcapitalisticvalues.blogspot.com/) People are mere symbols on the flags of political parties, for the purpose of false swearing! What we do with democracy today is the most glaring self deception of our age! We carry on the symbol not for its originally intended goals, but to use it as a tool for achieving hidden agendas, and goals of professional members of peoples own class, who have tasted its smart potential to become masters in a society.
The only goal, and sacred motive of the opposition party from day one is to find fault with the ruling party and to somehow bring it down. The very subject matter of democracy has degenerated into this absurd game! Instead of relying on plain Reason to guide the governments in policy matters, often populism crops in to guide them in
13) One of the singular purposes behind installation of civic society in the world was to protect the weak from the strong. But the present model of capitalistic-democracy, according to multiple studies recently conducted by agencies like Oxfam, Zurich University and others, every year the percentage of wealth is increasingly landing in the hands of fewer and fewer number of rich men, families or corporate entities. This is simply equal to making the strong more strong in the world, thus defeating the very purpose of civil society initiatives in the history of mankind. When the very establishment is run by the above combine of the industry and politics, it always remain a realm of the strong in society, making the rights and life of the weak and the under-privileged always at the mercy of the strong ! How the central role played by the industry and corporate entities damage Democracy and its base principles is narrated by The Guardian Journalist,George Monbiot, in one of his articles:
"The political power that should belong to us has flitted into confidential meetings with the lobbyists and donors who establish the limits of debate and action. It has slipped into the dictats of the IMF and the European Central Bank, which respond not to the people but to the financial sector. It has been transported, under armed guard, into the icy fastness of Davos, where Mr Friedman finds himself so warmly welcomed (even when he’s talking cobblers).
We could always attempt for a new kind of Democracy without political-party system: please see how it could be achieved, at link:http://democracywithoutpoliticalparties.blogspot.in/2010/11/model-of-democracy-without-political.html. When we the People apply our mind, dozens of such alternative systems could be invented.
It talks about the necessity of having democracy, especially its VALUES taught in schools and colleges so that every citizen turns a democrat, capable of participating in country governance.
Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1