Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Democracy & The Will Of The People

Winston Churchill said it was 'the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried' and Abraham Lincoln defined it as 'rule of, by, and for, the people' but is Democracy really such the great thing as we are led to believe?
Politics is vital to all of our lives, almost everything depends on political decisions from how we travel to how our children are educated to how much tax we pay on our wages. 
We have elections, parties tell us what they will do if elected, we vote, and the winners governs until the next round of elections a number of years later.
My biggest gripe about Democracy is that the voters have no way to force another election if the party who won turn out to be a disaster, the argument being that what we have is representative democracy, where we choose others to decide for us and the winner is serving the will of the majority, but are they?
In Britain, David Cameron became Prime Minister with just 36% of the voting public voting for him, 64% of the population wanted someone else so is he really in his position due to the will of the British people when two thirds specifically said they didn't want him ruling over them?
In America which has a population of 311 million, only 70m said Obama could represent them leaving the other 241 million to watch on as he acts as he sees fit. If he starts a war, over three quarters of the population can rightfully say that he is not acting in their name, nothing to do with them. 
In most countries there is a minimum age that a person can vote at so you could argue that Julie Gillard's 6m votes in Australia represents 50% of the voting public but you could just as easily argue that she still doesn't represent 16m of the 22m in her country by virtue of not receiving their permission either because they couldn't, or didn't, give it to her. 
Stephen Harper of Canada is in power despite 61% of the countries voters not wanting him, in Japan 69% of the country wanted someone else except Yukio Hatoyama, 67% voted against Angela Merkel in Germany and a huge 74% said a resounding no to Mark Rutte but he still sits as Prime Minister making the laws and rules that dominate the lives of the three quarters of the voting population that rejected him in the Netherlands.
The will of the people in the last Finnish election was for 80% to look at Jurki Faymann and vote for another party but he took power representing just 2 out of every 10 of the voters.  
Looking at the numbers of the Democracies around the World, most of the ruling parties are not representing the vast majority of people in there countries, Norway 32%, India 35%, Ireland 36%, Iceland 29%, Sweden 30%, Switzerland 26%, Austria 29% and in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu can only declare to be representing 21% of his population.
As Churchill nodded towards, Democracy is deeply imperfect but with no real alternative to turn to, it is what we have. It's just obviously not that representative of the 'will of the people' which is it's whole point.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

a pure democracy can be the will of the majority – not the same as will of THE people. with as little as 50%+1 happy people, and 50%-1 unhappy people, things can get ugly.

the usa is a republic which is obviously not a pure democracy. reason: the greeks viewed pure democracy as a method to redistribute wealth. the usa founding fathers view property rights as a basic human right and thus disliked redistribution (forced by the government). so, they selected a representative government. also, you had to own 21 acres of land to have a vote – this prevented redistribution of wealth. It worked until circa 1920.

as we shifted from the agricultural ear to the manufacturing era we had lots of problems including a world war and the great depression. also, the agricultural era could get by without coordinated resource management, but the manufacturing era demanded coordinated resource management to build large scale factories and manufacturing plants (needed semi-educated workers, consolidated places for them to live, roads for distribution, and large amounts of capital). so, we created federal banking (to fund new business), investment systems (to raise capital), federal programs to build roads, a public education system, etc.

another aspect of this - when the poor people lived on farms they were spread out wide and far and were little threat to organize and overturn the government, but when we moved more people to the cities we created large concentrations of poor people – that could easily organize to riot and revolt – which they did. so we created unions and social programs (JFK’s dad taught his sons: “give up 20% to keep 80%). alas, the programs kept growing and growing. then after ww2, western Europe and Japan needed the usa to provide for defense so Europe and Japan could rebuild. so, now the usa is stuck with a huge military commitment (which certain industries really like a lot) and with the responsibility for supporting Israel (inherited from the UK and French).

so here we are with about 50% of Americans getting federal aid (redistribution of wealth) and 25% paying income tax (getting their wealth redistributed). alas.

q


Lucy said...

This all span out from DGs comment about 'Americans being warmongers' and my reply that all Americans can't all be blamed for what their Government does. As this shows, only 70m voted for Obama out of 311m which when you consider that, is pretty poor that someone can get into power representing all Americans when 3 in 4 (ish) didn't want him to do it.

Anonymous said...

well, a person can prat on in blissful ignorance of their ignorance, or they can know something about why things are the way they are... learn from history and all that...

q

david g said...

Lucy, from my association with many American blogs and American citizens, I know that Q is the most ignorant, backward, indoctrinated, dumb American I have ever met.

That aside, there is real change happening in the U.S. More and more Yanks are questioning their Government and the rule of the Oligarchs.

As the numbers of homeless and poverty-stricken people increase, so will the questioning of the American Dream and why 1% of Americans (this includes Q) have accumulated 90% of the wealth.

It's a rigged game! A situation is developing where the poor will drag the rich from their mansions and hang them (or worse).

Q had better change his boring tune otherwise he won't live to enjoy his ill-gotten gains!

Anonymous said...

DG,

This post illustrates two of your problems.
- you confuse your thoughts with reality
- you are a self-righteous hypocrite

your opinion of me based on my posts (some data) is somewhat logical - quite unusual for you. But, then you go and opine (almost always whining) about me based on a delusional image – the kind that fills your head. i’m not in the 1% by any definition. Though I wish I had the money of your fellow hypocrite far lefties Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, Kennedy’s, John Kerry, Obama, etal. Ain’t no poor democrats in office, right? The heroes of the poor and down-trodden indeed! This makes a nice segue into your next problem…

your psychotic posts deplore violence and advocate communications and understanding. but it is all bullshit – an advantage of being a Texan is you can detect bullshit before it comes around the corner… and boy I can smell you over the internet all the way from your asylum in the Outback. Your posts and psycho blog indicate that you are one of those liberals that are shocked and angered to find out that there are other points of views. You think communications means “you talk, others do as told”.

So, responding to you, in kind, knowing that nothing can get thru… i would say that you are either in a mental asylum, or you frequent one on a regular basis. Anger issues much… Napoleon syndrome… Exactly what psychoses do you have?

q

PS – speaking as a gun tottin Texan, when they come to hang me, if you are with them, I suggest you hang back in the rear and cower in fear cause it will be a lot safer for you… oh, you already knew that didn’t you. Third problem is you are a chicken shit.