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Democracy is extraordinarily rare and should be cherished

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday blog

I find the attitudes of the woke, West-hating, virtue-signalling, Greta-worshipping, anti-progress, globalist, self-styled supposed progressives more than incomprehensible. What we have in the West is far from perfect and is open to criticism, particularly due to the depressingly low quality of our kakistocratic leaders. But our reasonably-functioning democracy is such a rarity that it should be cherished and not constantly sneeringly denigrated.

Democracies such as we have in the West have existed for less than the last 100 years of human history. Moreover, even in today’s world, they are a rarity.

There are multiple theories about what specific elements are required for a government to qualify as a democracy. For example, in preparing its annual Democracy Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI) scores each of the world’s countries in five distinct categories—which we can examine to determine several of the Economist’s democratic wish list:

  1. pluralistic system in which at least two legitimate-but-different political parties coexist
  2. A free and fair electoral process that enables the people to choose between candidates from those parties
  3. A government that operates openly and transparently, works for the good of all the people, respects its own rules, has proper checks and balances, and gives its citizens free choice and control over their lives
  4. Politically engaged citizens who support democratic principles, “fight fair”, vote regularly, accept the will of the voters, and commit to a peaceful transfer of power after each election
  5. An emphasis on preserving civil liberties and personal freedoms of both the majority and minorities
  6. A free and independent media unhindered by government interference, influence, or intimidation

Of the 165 countries included in the EUI Democracy Index:

  • 23 (14%) are considered Full Democracies
  • 51 (31%) are called Flawed Democracies
  • 34 (21%) are rated as Hybrid Regimes
  • 57 (34%) are classed as Authoritarian Regimes

Looking at the EUI Democracy Index, I believe the EUI has been implausibly generous to many countries. But even if we accept the EUI’s Democracy Index classification:

  • there are only 23 (14%) of the world’s countries where you have something resembling Democracy
  • “Flawed Democracies” include totally corrupt hell-holes like Mexico which is run by drug cartels and Albania which is run by violent criminal gangs
  • “Hybrid Regimes” include such earthly paradises as Turkey which has a sham parliament but is actually run by the president, his family and his cronies and uber-corrupt failed states like Lebanon
  • members of the “Authoritarian Regimes” club include godforsaken disasters such as Venezuela, Iran, China and, of course, the glorious, prosperous, well-run Peoples Republic of North Korea.

When you realise how few countries even today provide any reasonable level of freedom for their citizens, you might be tempted to conclude that the navel-gazing, self-promoting, holier-than-thou, politically-correct, libtard, intellectually-challenged, self-proclaimed progressives and much of the mainstream media, furiously arguing about how many genders there are and which pronouns to use, have slightly lost their sense of perspective about what is important and what is not.

Here’s a link to the rankings:

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/democracy-countries

9 comments to Democracy is extraordinarily rare and should be cherished

  • A Thorpe

    I don’t agree with this. The problem is no 1 in the list. We need to abolish the political parties. Politicians who are members of a party have to comply with party policy, and as we know the parties never give a clear idea about the policies we vote on and they do not keep to them. A two dominant party system effectively results in parties opposing each other just to make a distinction and attract voters. So when one party dominates the opposition is ineffective. The last election gave the Tories a huge majority based on they getting about 30% of the registered electorate voting for them. We have rule of the minority over the majority. That is not democracy. People always say they vote for a party or even a PM but we vote for a constituency representative who could be a complete idiot.

    Politicians need to discuss issues not argue and disagree. The politicians from the government party also need to hold the government to account, but they rarely do because they all want promotion. The result is that the other items in the democracy list become pointless. This is why George Washington did not belong to a political party and was opposed to them because they just create disagreement.

    Thomas Sowell has discussed elections and says they are not held for social participation or to allow people to vent their emotions, they are to elect people who will hold our lives in their hands and the fate of the entire nation. He says it is madness to go out and vote as if it is for a homecoming queen and that if people have not studied what they are voting for their most patriotic act should be to stay at home.

    What has happened in the west is that democracy had resulted in the socialism taking over every political party, for the simple reason that people for benefits. Socialism even benefits the rich because they profit from implementing vanity projects and the size of the state expands and more and more controls our lives. Personal freedom is the most important item in the list. We have seen recently how free speech had almost disappeared in the media and academia and how we gave into to pointless control measures for a claimed pandemic. We also saw with the Brexit referendum that neither the voters or politicians have any respect for democracy.

    I drew attention to Bonhoeffer a few days ago. He effectively said: the power of the state over us requires the stupidity of the electorate, and nothing can be done to fight stupidity. The only way back from this is for people to demand freedom and responsibility for their own lives and take it back. How can democracy do that, when it is designed to do exactly the opposite?

  • Ed P

    The UK fails points 2, 3, 5 & 6 almost entirely. Points 1 & 4 perhaps 50/50.
    We’re not up to much – but it could be worse: look at the mess over the pond.

  • Jeffrey Palmer

    I have said for many years that our democracy is a sham, that political parties should be made illegal, and that citizens should serve as MPs and local Councillors on the same basis that they do Jury service.

    Democracy, Dictatorship or Oligarchy makes little difference – all create a political class which runs the system in its own interests, is convinced that it knows much better than we do what is good for us, and which inevitably demands more power for itself over the individual. To achieve reform you first have to dismantle the political class.

  • Bad Brian

    A good article and good comments.

    The thing is that I think we are going to find out quite soon how fragile our democracy really is as we appear to be being swept along by events. Events that are increasingly unpredictable to everyone.

    We seem to lurch from one catastrophie to another and unlike the good old days, we don’t appear to get a break in between as one event melds into another.

    Who would have been bold enough to suggest that Covid would slip behind us because Putin has decided to start a war for reasons that are still unknown to me and everyone else ?

    Running in parallel, we have immigration, Islamic enroachment, water shortages ( this caused the Arab Spring), energy costs which are soaring causing food inflation and all the while I am supposed to agree that some big bloke in a bikini is a woman and should be able to swim against the
    girls.

    My thoughts are that black & white and right and wrong have been eroded in our society by those who we trusted to protect these fundamental ideas. Politicians, judges, the police and the media have combined to sneer at the values most of us grew up with, which, if you will allow the leap, has emboldened Putin to believe that he can invade a neighbouring country without any credible repercusions from any other country because he sees us as decadent wimps with no belief’s we are willing to stand up for.

    This attitude empowers wrong doers and enfeebles those who would protest against obvious wrong doing.

    I think this has been going on since the end of WW2 in a drip, drip fashion which has crept up on our way of life and almost engulfed us. It really is the little things that chip away until the core is rotten. For example, why should civil servants have pensions that drarf what the rest of us might expect ? Why do they enjoy a much more generous pension system than us plebs who pay for it ? Yet, no politician would ever have the guts to stand up and question this injustice.

    Why do Green extremists get off with closing the motorway just because a judge sympathises with their cause ?

    Why does someone who turns up to work with a bone through their nose get £25K compensation because one of their workmates made a comment about it ?

    Why did Damien Hurst get £1.3 million and Bercow £80K from the furlough scheme while the chancellor boasted about giving away £5.00 vouchers for slices of pizza and then he looks surprised when the country wakes up skint ?

    I blame the parents.

    This has probably been going on for 6000 years one way or another so all you ex-Teddy Boys out there should not be too hard on yourselves.

  • Hardcastle

    An interesting article David but one which is purely academic and really only for interesting debate.The thing is,it is only academic because the hard realities of this world are hurtling towards us and we are soon to be hoisted on our own petard and it isn’t going to b e pleasant and courteous discourse will not cut it.The farcical budget presentation yesterday was another illustration of how far down the rabbit hole we and the rest of the Western world are.A financial tsunami approaches and in addition to the lunacy of covid and net zero realities.Batten down the hatches,it is going to be so hard I fear the younger generations will just not be able to cope when the realities come home to roost.They do not even wear top coats in winter,no need,global warming don’t you know.The only positive,it could lead o an outbreak of conservatism and the application of intelligent politics, only after a violent upheaval/civil war.

  • Jeffrey Palmer

    Bad Brian – ‘Putin started a war for reasons that are unknown to me and to everyone else’

    How about refusing to allow NATO to park its missiles, bombers, tanks, and troops on Russia’s western frontier, just like Kennedy refused to allow the Soviet Union to park its missiles in Cuba?

    All educated people know about the ‘Monroe Doctrine’, a principle of US policy, originated by President James Monroe, that any intervention by external powers in the politics of the Americas is a potentially hostile act against the US. So, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    NATO was warned for years by Putin that Ukraine was a red line, but the West refused to rule out NATO membership for Ukraine. The only conclusion I can draw is that NATO’s boss Stoltenberg got exactly the result he wanted.

    And now the arms manufacturers will be hoovering up truckloads of borrowed money from all NATO countries, just like Big Pharma has done all over the planet during the last two years.

  • Bad Brian

    Dear Jeffrey,

    I do not disagree with your comments.

    What I cannot agree with is that Putin was justified and I believe his reaction is way, way over the top. So much so that I am still not convinced the reasoning you explain above is Putin’s real motive for going to war.

    I do think NATO has been provocative in expanding eastwards but the Russian reaction is over the top. However, as you have pointed out, the Americans as one example, believe they also have the right to behave in the same way if they believe their interests are being impinged upon..

    China has always had a similair policy to have “buffer” countries protecting its border such as North Korea.

    Perhaps I have been under the impression with Russia that they were more interested these days in Jaw,Jaw than War War. I think that many European governments have felt the same as they seem un-prepared for the violence that has erupted on their doorstep and are clearly unwilling to put themselves at risk to stop it.

    A courtroom in Dundee some years ago.

    JUDGE. So why did you kill your friend ?

    DEFENDANT. He ate my pie.

  • Jeffrey Palmer

    Ok, Bad Brian, how about this as a hypothetical situation –

    Scotland gets it’s referendum and declares independence.

    The Scots border counties (which all voted solidly Tory at the last General Election, incidentally) hold their own referendum, to the fury of Sturgeon’s government, and opt for remaining in the UK.

    A Scots Nats government finds that the wheels of Brussels turn no faster for them than for anyone else – particularly in the face of total opposition from the Spanish to the EU setting a precedent for admitting a breakaway province.

    A cash-strapped, deeply Anglophobic Scots government with a border dispute looks at all those now-deserted former British military establishments at Scapa Flow, Faslane, Rosyth, Leuchars, Lossiemouth etc, and thinks ‘Hmm, wonder who might pay good money to rent those…?

    I wonder, Bad Brian, just how ‘over the top’ an English government’s reaction might be if the idea got around that a hostile power, maybe one from regions east of the UK, might just take up such an invitation from Sturgeon’s Nationalist, Socialist government?

  • Bad Brian

    Jeffrey,

    Again I see your argument which can actually be easily compared to the situation in the Ukraine at this time.

    At risk of sounding like a total wimp, my problem is that I failed to believe that someone like Putin could actually be so evil in the modern age and that his people would allow him to be so. I think that is how most people felt and why many are still puzzled by these recent events.

    However, history is awash with examples of evil warmongerors who have persuaded their people to aid and abet their pursuit of power against their neighbours so why I should find it hard to believe as I watch the same again roll out in front of me I don’t know.

    The other things we know is is that the bad guys don’t always get their comuppance and the only way to beat such monsters is using fire against fire. The trouble is that with a fragmented Europe and the rest of the West, each faction looking on is hoping someone else takes the lead against Putin so they don’t find themselves in the front line.

    Take the Irish republic as a pungent example. A parasitic country that abuses its neighbours but relies on them for defence.

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