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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Democracy or Demon-Crazy

"Democracy, in the guise of people empowerment has brought countless miseries with itself and has inflicted upon a common man worst kind of terrorism and oppression ever. Yet the mind control process and Psychological entrepreneurship has been such that the whole world recognizes Democracy as a saviour."
By: Mehdi Siddique

The people of Athens didn’t know that the concept they were using those days to decide upon the warfare issues would one day sweep away the whole world in such a dramatic manner that its echoes would be heard from all corners of the globe.
Democracy, something which began in Athens some 2,500 years ago as an experiment has today engulfed the whole world in such a mesmerizing way that anyone seeing opposing it is branded as an extremist or a terrorist. For every problem, we are told lies a democratic solution, for every tribe, for every civilization the mantra of ‘democracy’ hold good! An idea, which is marketed more than apple iphones, a theory which is taught more than the relativity and a set-up which is today dominant over all setups.

The notion of ‘democracy’ has been planted deep down in our hearts, so much so that we see all of its critiques with suspicion. Democracy today is no less than a religion and people follow it the way religion is followed.

John Adams, the second President of United States once quoted, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” His words were true then and are fast becoming true now, especially in the west, the very place where democracy was nourished and brought up. Increasing security problems, law and order mess, ever increasing debts, corruption, and incompetence of political leaders to solve some fundamental issues are posing great challenges to all democratic nations of the world.

Democracy, however can have different meanings for different people; an employee, for example  would regard his boss as ‘democratic’ if he mingles with them well and takes their due feedback in issues pertaining the enterprise. But largely it is used to denote the political establishment which emerges by its virtue when votes of the majority of citizenry form the government for a specific interval of time.

Whilst most of the politicians operating in the democratic set-ups claim the ‘change’ mantle, very little does actually change. Infact, the reality is that the much hyped democratic set-ups are responsible for corrupting the entire nations. Expenses fraud, ex-Ministers being ‘cabs for hire’, cash for influencing legislation and loans for peerages are all examples in the UK alone. The alleged attempted sale of a Senate seat in Illinois and a congressman with thousands of dollars in his fridge in the USA are similar shocking episodes. India, considered by many to be the largest secular democracy, is also considered to be the most corrupt. Politicians at both federal and state level have been milking the country dry since partition in 1947. Israel is hailed as the only democracy in the Middle East. Yet what does it say about its government when a former President is being tried for rape and an ex-Prime Minister investigated for corruption? The developing democracies don’t fare better. Elections in Kenya, Afghanistan and Pakistan have all yielded a corrupt elite, and Russia’s conversion to democracy has produced an oligarchy more interested in making money than serving the public. In essence democracies in country after country favour the elite while continuing the propaganda that everyone has the same power within a democracy.

The US, for example may be the preeminent democracy in the world but it is also one of the most corrupt. In 2008, 94% of incumbents won in the House of Representatives and 83% in the Senate. This isn’t by accident; it is all because of gerrymandering and the significant money advantage enjoyed by incumbents and. Despite the global recession special interests paid Washington Lobbyists $3.2 billion in 2008 or $17m every day Congress was in session. The 2010 congressional elections are estimated to cost a staggering $3.5 billion. The democratic brother of USA; India, is no less corrupt. After the 2009 elections groups working on electoral reform judged that 153 MP’s (29% of all MP’s) elected in the Indian parliament faced some kind of criminal charges with 74 facing serious criminal charges including those of murder and gang war.

The Democratic set-ups around the world has not only given up-turn to corrupt regimes but it has also produced the worst kind of tyrants ever. Hitler exterminated over one lakh Jews by the very virtue of democracy, because majority in Germany supported him and that is what democracy is, ‘The absolute rule of Majority’. In North America the red-Indian tribes were eliminated like cockroaches by those who go to churches on Sunday mornings and brag ‘democracy’! “Some argue that the problems that have arisen are due to bad implementation and a political class that has lost its bearings. Yet the problem of secular democracies originates not from bad implementation but shaky theoretical foundations. The view that laws become superior to other laws based on the number of people voting for them is as absurd as it is dangerous. We certainly don’t decide scientific progress based on the number of people who support a position, if we did then Galileo, Copernicus and the hundreds of scientists who spoke truth to power and who struggled against public opinion must have been wrong. We decide trials based on the quality of evidence not on the numerical superiority of witnesses on any particular side.” (An excerpt from the book Democracy in Crisis)

The ‘right to life’ is described in every democracy as a fundamental right and yet history bears testimony that ‘democratic’ nations collided against each other head-on and risked the lives of their sons and daughters in brutal conflicts just to ensure the leadership of politicians is safeguarded. If the Second World War was all about ‘protecting life’ then Churchill should have surrendered before Hitler, thereby saving thousands of soldiers and the cities of Britian from being bombarded.

Abraham Lincoln, the champion of democracy himself showed the ruthlessness and crooked face of democracy to the world when in 1861, he suspended civil laws in certain territories and claimed to the presidency (himself) all powers not delegated to him in the constitution and in 1862 imprisoned 13,000 members of the ‘Copperhead Democrats’, a group that opposed the war and who sought a new constitutional convention to frame an amendment to protect state’s rights. The buck didn’t stop here, when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court declared Lincoln’s actions unconstitutional. Instead of observing the rule of law, the ‘cornerstone of Western tradition’, Lincoln issued an arrest warrant for the 84-year-old Chief Justice!
Similarly during the Second World War, Franklin Roosevelt interned 120,000 Americans of Japanese origin in inland concentration camps through the signing of Executive Order 9066; their only crime was their racial origin. In 2006 George W Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act thus denying any of its enemies fundamental rights and violating the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of detainees.
Guantanamo Bay, Belmarsh, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, the Patriot Act, anti-terrorism legislation of all guises, stop and search, internment, torture, sexual humiliation, executive ordered arrests, detention without trial, rendition of suspects to despotic regimes, brutal interrogations and illegal and imperialistic wars are all the brand ambassadors of democracy.

Democracy values quantity more than quality, just because 51% of people vote for something or a simple majority of politicians vote for something doesn’t make it right. Nor does having a supermajority guarantee better results. If a supermajority decided to legalise heroin use or ban Muslim women from wearing the hijab, this would be entirely democratic.

Another problem which the democracy creates is of ‘periodic elections’. The problem with frequent elections is twofold. Firstly the more elections there are the more there is a requirement for money. The money-politics mix is one of the major cancers in democratic politics. Secondly the frequency of elections biases politicians against tackling long-term challenges and instead incentivises them to focus on short-term popularity. While a country’s planning horizon should be measured in decades, political horizons are focussed on managing the 24-hour news cycle and how to win the next election.

The democracies in the world are blighted with a ton of problems and yet they roar and cheer for being democratic! In United States almost 40 million people or 13% are considered to be in poverty at the end of 2008. The wealth in equality is such that by 2007, executives at the largest American companies received about 350 times the pay of the average employee. In many of the top corporations, the chief executive officer earns more every day than the average worker gets paid in a year. Yet to keep elites in power, in the name of national security America continues to spend on defence more than what next fourteen countries spend together and on defence research more than what the countries of entire world spend together. The case of ‘vibrant’, democratic India is no less different. Almost 75% or 828 million of India’s population live on less than $2 a day. Over 42m Indians live in slums of which 45% do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. A child dies from a preventable disease every 15 seconds. A woman dies in childbirth every 5 minutes. Despite the great strength and entrepreneurship of India’s citizenry, India’s democratic politicians have failed the Indian people.

It is not surprising why many philosophers, leaders and intellectuals voiced against democracy. Socrates and Plato raged against democracy in ancient Greece. Jefferson and Adams understood the dangers of democracy and their voice is the main reason why the word ‘democracy’ itself is not present in the United States’s constitution. Democracy, in the guise of people empowerment has brought countless miseries with itself and has inflicted upon a common man worst kind of terrorism and oppression ever. Yet the mind control process and Psychological entrepreneurship has been such that the whole world recognizes Democracy as a saviour. While as a concept, just opposite to it, something which enlightened the whole Europe especially Spain and Andalus, that is the Islamic state is discredited as being something non-practical.

Islamic establishment requires no introduction; it has excelled on the time line of history and has been a dominant system for a period of over 1500 years. A system under which poor’s are granted their rights, an establishment which doesn’t work under the influence of any elite or elite class, a power which rises up against all criminals and oppressors, a sword which is used against tyrants and a shield which safeguards the interests of minorities, poor and destitute.
It is not a surprise why Jews used to migrate from Rome to live under the Islamic state, they knew it very well that what Islamic state offers to its citizenry no other form of government can.

The Umayyad Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz once said "Rulers usually appoint people to watch over their subjects. I appoint you a watcher over me and my behaviour. If you find me at fault in word or action guide me and stop me from doing it". A note, so unique in the pages of history, a note which blackens the faces of the modern democratic politicians who leave no stone unturned to satisfy their personal desires even if that means going against the interests of public.

Today, we need to relook our approach in nation building. We can’t expect miracles out of a rotten system; it is the system itself that needs to be changed. Putting in checks and balances in a democratic set up will only increase its vulnerability to tumble down. We cant balance much on a needle-head, can we? Democracy is a system so badly bankrupt that the world today needs a radical change infused with high morals, new values and new ethos of politics that would serve the whole nation and not a small section of elites. That new alternative is the Islam system, the sooner the world realizes it; the better it would be for it.

Mehdi Siddique is a Kashmiri thinker and writer, he blogs at Paramount of Quiet Introspection; a featured blog in FREEDOM WRITERS 'Featured blogs' section.

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