Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Popper's theses on gov't (3): democracy confers no benefit on citizens

Democracy as such cannot confer any benefits upon the citizen and it should not be expected to do so. In fact democracy can do nothing – only the citizens of the democracy can act (including, of course, those citizens who comprise the government). Democracy provides no more than a framework within which the citizens may act in a more or less organised and coherent way.

This may seem a strange thing for the person who wrote The Open Society and its Enemies during World War II to say. However, in that work, Popper presages Winston Churchill’s bon mot that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried".

Churchill was speaking after the electorate gave him "the order of the boot" in 1945 and might be forgiven for a dash of rancour, but he identified a key element of democracy: all its stakeholders must be prepared to accept outcomes they disagree with.

An occasional plebiscite is no panacea for our problems. For example, immigration still besets the UK despite a party traditionally tough on immigration leading the Coalition. In fact nearly all politicians fail to act as citizens of a democratic nation, regardless of whether they agree with what the bulk of the people demand.

Those individuals and groups who have exercised their right and their duty to "act in a more or less organised and coherent way" concerning immigration and national identity have been damned by the unelected Establishment, which tolerates only views it agrees with, as fascist and racist (add any derogatory "ism" of your choice). Elected politicians of all political hues, with depressingly few honourable exceptions, collude with and even contribute to the smearing.

Is this merely democracy delivering results we disagree with? Well, with most of our rules coming from Brussels and merely being ratified (as opposed to voted upon) by the European Parliament before incorporation into our law, there’s minimal democracy happening. If we can expect no benefits to arise from the mere fact that our government is democratically elected, what can we expect in democracy’s absence save more of what has always accompanied contempt for common folk, witness the Peasants’ Revolt, the English Civil War and the Regency Riots?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

This series:

Popper's theses on gov't (1): state a necessary evil

Popper's theses on gov't (2): democratic government can be got rid of without bloodshed

Popper's theses on gov't (3): democracy confers no benefit on citizens

Popper's theses on gov't (4): we're not democrats because the majority is always right

Popper's theses on gov't (5): institutions are insufficient without traditions

Popper's theses on gov't (6): Utopia is an impossibility

Popper's theses on gov't (7) - liberalism is evolutionary, not revolutionary

No comments:

Post a comment