It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. – Winston Churchill
What is the point of democracy? Is it majority rule? Is fifty percent plus one good enough to make binding decisions that affect the whole? What if the majority opinion is wrong?
Winston Churchill, one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century knew that while democracy is the best form of government we have available to us right now he wasn’t naïve to the truth that it is hugely flawed. Simple majority rule democracy often leads to bad decisions, short sited decisions and uneducated decisions.
In recent years it has become clear that democracy, especially in the west, is easily manipulated. When the powerful and the elite exert control over information, hide or manipulate facts and limit the amount or type of information that is available to the masses, decisions are made on incomplete and faulty information and democracy suffers.
One of the most alarming trends that I have observed along this line is the marginalization and outright demonization of scientists in the area of climate change. Never before in history has a good education been used as a negative point against people but there are circles were an elite education is actually now a source of suspicion. How messed up is that?
The powerful fossil fuel lobby that profits from hiding the truth about climate change has spent billions of dollars seeking out and funding a small group of scientists to refute the claims of the overwhelming majority who agree that the earth is getting hotter. None of these so called scientist is connected with any of the top universities, but instead they are all connected to privately funded foundations that rely on money from the vary industry they support. Through intense lobbying this junk science has gained the ear of the so called democratic governments to the point that even thought the majority of citizens agree that global warming is a problem our governments are doing nothing about it.
I’m reminded of a joke my Dentist told me in reference to the old advertisements that said four out of five dentists agree that brushing with fluoride twice a day helps prevent cavities. He said, “Four out of five dentists think that fifth guy is an idiot!”
This isn’t about climate change or dentists that don’t think it is a good idea to brush your teeth, this is about the flaws of democracy. It is about what should happen if that one dentist was actually right?
Winston Churchill was right; the best form of government is not a simple democracy. It is a government that seeks to build consensus and isn’t afraid to overrule the majority for the sake of a greater good. In short the best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship.
There is no good example of a benevolent dictatorship in the world today. Many of the European monarchies of old tried and the Roman Catholic Church to a great extent is still trying. But they failed. They failed for the same reason that democracy fails today. They failed because the wealthy and the powerful used their influence to overshadow the facts and manipulate the leaders into doing things that are not in the best interest of the masses.
I’ve been writing a lot lately about our Pareto Efficient economy. I believe that our society is approaching a point of balance that is going to make it extremely difficult for people at the bottom of the pyramid to move up without the necessity for people above them to move down. We are still being fed the lie that a rising tide floats all boats, when in reality the tide isn’t rising at all; the yachts are just displacing more water.
A democracy that allows a disproportionate amount of power and influence to be exerted by people at the top of the pyramid will never achieve true balance. Notice I did not say equality, I don’t think that is a viable option either. A balanced economy doesn’t necessarily have to be an equal economy but it certainly can’t be a lopsided economy either. I am afraid that as more and more people on the bottom realize this they will revolt and result will be collapse of the entire system.
We are the in the midst of an information age that has brought us to the verge of a new enlightenment. The last enlightenment was marred by revolution and war and ended with the near Armageddon of World War One. With weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue states and crazed fanatics I shudder to think about the kinds of violence this new enlightenment might bring.