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
So one of my best and oldest friends called me out this week on something I tweeted regarding the new Pope.
So far I’ve been pretty impressed with the way Pope Francis has gone about starting his reign. He has shunned some of the more extravagant trappings of the job and repeatedly spoken about compassion for the poor. Even the name he chose, Francis I, points to the more humble and compassionate direction it appears he intends to take the church.
All this remains to be seen of course but it’s a confident beginning.
My friend, a devote atheist, pointed out however that we have spend that last few centuries trying to rid the world of dictators and yet the Catholic Church still allows for the appointment of, what amounts to, a life-long dictator. He put it a bit more colorfully than that, but you get gist.
That got me thinking, what’s wrong with dictatorships anyway and was Winston Churchill right or wrong when he said that democracy is essentially the best option we have?
Over the last few years, while I’ve worked on this blog and the accompanying book I’ve come to believe that not only was Churchill wrong, but that democracy is by its very nature governing from a point of weakness. That leaves us with the uncomfortable reality that the “best” form of government is actually a Benevolent Dictatorship.
Here me out…
Most Historians and Anthropologists agree that ancient tribal societies were far more egalitarian and peaceful than anything we have today. The evidence points to these societies having been organized around a patriarch and a council of elders that ruled with impunity and little regard for public opinion. At the end of the day they were a family that respected the leadership of their collective father. And it was the father’s duty to lead from the front lines and make sure that everyone’s needs were met. That is what the Catholic Church was originally designed to represent and indeed that’s why priests are called Father.
Now as any parent knows, families are decidedly not democracies, at least not functional ones. How messed up would that be if every time little Johnny misbehaved his punishment had to be put to a vote?
Granted history also shows that truly benevolent dictatorships are few and far between, and the Catholic Church has been among the worst offenders. But the fact that benevolent dictatorships get corrupted and oppressive has very little to do with any fundamental flaw in the design and more to do with human nature and lust for power. In most cases Democracy is just as corrupt, especially when things are done in secret so as not to jeopardize the chances of re-election.
I expand more on this idea in Chapter 5 and elsewhere in the book “Meekonomics; How to Inherit the Earth and Live Life to the Fullest under God’s Economy” for an advanced copy email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always your comments are welcome below.