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The Democracy! train is slowing down if not stopped completely, if not derailed off a bridge. Iraq was ‘given’ democracy and is in a civil war, Afghanistan was also ‘given’ democracy but the government is not recognized as an authority throughout most of Afghanistan. Palestine voted into to power a terrorist organization. Iran voted in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and as far as we know continues to support him and his policies. Hamas as well was democratically elected.

The questions is beginning to stand How has the theory “democracy = good†failed? Keep in mind also that it was a vast amount of people who took stock in this idea. When George Bush said he’d spread democracy in the middle east and the world those that disagreed did so on the basis that it would be too difficult and costly to spread democracy, not on the basis that the theory itself had any flaws; essentially everyone seems or seemed to think that if democracy could be brought to non democratic nations the world would be a better place. That democracy equals western values.

Which is why the pro-democracy camp is so appealing. As long as one assumes democracy equals western values then one can spread western values without any sort of value judgment. You need not say, “our western ways are better than your ways,†. You need but to say, “Democracy!â€

Whenever a side justifies itself without actually justifying itself, it is called in philosophy a meta theory. A theory that does not conclude with what exactly is correct within the subject it addresses, but rather concludes the actual correctness being left blank. Some popular meta theories are: ‘I have a right to an opinion, therefore my opinion is correct (or at least I am justified in not thinking about or actually trying to give sufficient reason for adopting my opinion)’, ‘whatever God says is correct, God says this, therefore this is correct’, ‘I feel this is correct, therefore what I feel is correct’. Notice these arguments can be used to justify anything as they contain no content.

The pro democracy camp follows the same logic: Whatever a democracy does is justified, therefore democracy equals justice. The reason why the reasoning is popular is because it allows for passionate ideology without any substance or value judgment, and without substance an argument cannot be wrong. One need not actually think about politics or the problems a region faces: all arduous tasks easier left undone. The reason it fails is for the same reason. The argument doesn’t actually answer any questions: What should a people do? Be a democracy. Okay, what should a people do? ... Vote. Yes, yes, but what should they vote for! ... Vote ... For Democracy!

What people need is not some magical political process that will inexplicably solve the peoples problems. What people need is understanding. Understanding political systems being one such thing. The first thing to understand is the idea of the Tyrant does not really exist. A single person cannot single handedly subject a large group of people. A dictator or monarch or communist head of the party still needs a large portion of the peoples support to rule, but not necessarily fifty percent at any given time. However, without more than fifty percent support it is very difficult for the government to hold onto power over longer periods. And so all political systems are inherently democratic to a certain degree as they express the will of the people, at least not to try and change things. The difference between them is simply how accurately this is done and with what speed and ease does change in public will result in change in government policy. Under all these “tyrannous regimes†, as we call them, changing government requires a revolution which is often slow to organize and difficult to carry out often resulting in violence.

This is the problem democracy was invented to solve. The people need not take to the streets to change government. But this is as far as the virtues of the single word democracy goes. Democracies can still be just as tyrannous as non democracies. If tyranny is defined as any group made up of less than fifty percent of the population controlling government, tyranny is rampant in at least north American democracy in which this feat is done with ease. In Canada, the liberals were in power for years without more than fifty percent support. The conservatives have formed government now with less than forty percent support and may gain full power in the next election, again with less than 50 percent support. These "less than 50 percent" governments are of course tyrannical. And of course Bush came to power with less than 50 percent support, and we should remember that if the American system can produce greater than fifty percent outcomes it’s because all but 2 parties are excluded from politics.

Which is one understanding we North Americans lack. Thinking that all entities "called democracies" are equal, it has not really occurred to us that our political system can be improved. That we can continue to improve the accuracy of our political system, which we are entirely capable of doing through our political system, as it stands at least (we’ve just made it difficult for ourselves and so choose laziness).

But knowing that an inaccurate political system will always lead to strife, or, as we see in the west, a disinterest in politics that will certainly lead to strife, is only a very tiny portion of the understanding needed for peace order and good governance. (And considering we don’t even understand this very well, it is ironic that we feel the need to travel half way across the world to lecture people on politics). The public will can still be very wrong! All an accurate political system does is reduce the conflict that is sure to result when the public will is set against the government. Even when this is reduced there is still plenty of room for the public will to lead to all things bad.

An understanding of the world and an understanding of what Good is, what we should actually do, is the vastly more important thing a people needs. Very difficult questions you might say? Probably, however there is no way around trying to answer “What should we do?†when it comes to the question What should we do?

A meta theory allows one to think one understands without any actual understanding. It allows one to think one is superior while simultaneously thinking one is humble. A meta theory allows for political discourse to be carried out with sound bites and rhetoric. It allows for the entrenchment and legitimization of naive empty action and talk.

If we are to solve the problems we face, or even identify them, we might actually have to understand what these problems are, why they are problems and what we can do about it. A political ideology completely contained by the single word “Democracy†or “Freedom†may not be up for the task.

Suffice to say, we should probably make sure our democratic system actually makes sense and more importantly make sure we are actually doing good things through our democratic system before thinking about trying to violently export our understanding of the world.

"Terrorism" = "not a significant world problem, compared to real ones", in case anyone was wondering, and "Terrorist Democratically elected governments" = "people western elites disagree with".


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