Undemocratic Muse

A reader left this comment on an earlier post of mine… “Funny how through all the political muck a “democracy” like ours generates, with the common man’s hard earned money being thrown down the drain by conducting elections, dissolutions, re-elections, dissolutions, re-re-elections and then some, we also claim to be the “world’s largest democracy“….

Some thoughts on democracy… Democracy bases itself on the conception of a common good and a common will. I’m inclined to think that the notion of a common ‘good’ or a common ‘will’ is really only hypothetical. No agenda especially one formulated for a billion people speaking so many languages, living in such a geographically vast region and with so many different cultures can share anything aside of what Berlin in the Two Concepts Of Liberty and H.LA. Hart in ‘Are there any natural rights?’ call a common humanity.

Two my mind there are two things:

1) That there is only one right that occurs as a result of sharing a common humanity and that is the equal right of all persons to be free and

2) That there are no such things as fundamental rights only fundamental freedoms. These are the right to be protected by law in terms of contracts, from coercion and making choices in one’s life….

Joseph Schumpeter here (elaborated in his text ‘Two Concepts Of Democracy’) says this of the classical doctrine of democracy:

1) Since the very notion of common good and will do not exist the very idea of democracy has weak foundations.

2) The classical doctrine of democracy is in no sense truly democratic- because a system that works on the framework of representative democracy through voting for parties for example, is no real choice. One has to choose between a pre-designated set of ideologies and value systems, any policy issue is decided on a majoritarian basis and well, since representatives vote for more representatives the people at the start of the voting process never really get represented at the end of it all!

3) There is no real proof that a pseudo-democracy is any better than a liberal authoritarian rule. A vast majority of the masses do not vote, urban populations aren’t interested anymore and poor inefficient election procedures ensure that those who do vote are largely scared into it.

Unfortunately, Churchill rings true as well…. “Democracy is the worst of all systems except all the others”. I disagree though. Admittedly a democratic foundation is necessary, but how is the question?

Can we design the political marketplace as it were to be more efficient? How about political marketing? How about direct competition between policy makers? How about teaching political communication and getting ‘politics’ out of the murky stream which makes it a profession most honourable people in India will never touch? One can never be apolitical (no matter how many of us might like to believe we are), if you choose to be neutral remember that is your bias!

Zachariah said something to this effect: You cannot build a democratic nation on foundations that are not liberal. In a country where people have no real political choice, no economic freedom to practice trade or be entrepreneurs without been choked to death by regulations and where state sponsored communal and sectarian violence kill hundreds like it was just the sun rising on yet another day….

Democracy anybody?… Welcome to India, the world’s largest democracy!