The world's attention is currently turned towards the Middle East and Africa. Will these revolts all turn into successful revolutions? Will democracy finally emerge in the countires traditionally ruled by dictators?
Right now, of course, the events in Libya are horrifying as the senile old man has obviously decided to kill as many of his own people as he can before being ousted.
I hope his Ukrainian nurse has left him. Oh wait... she did! Good! Everybody should leave the bastard.
And his son definately looks like a sociopath, too.
But what I wanted to talk about is the perspective of these revolutions and the meaning of the word that one hears dozens of times every day - democracy.
Emotionally, I like revolts, the 'people power', and I'm always hoping the protestors will achieve their goals. But when I think about them rationally I am far from being optimistic about the real change coming as a result of such one-time events.
Of course, not every revolution we're seeing is about fighting for freedom and democracy. Poverty - an ultimate motivator. People can live in totalitarian states and be more or less satisfied with their lives just as long as they are not hungry, as their basic human needs are taken care of.
I'm still meeting quite a lot of people who regret the fall of the Soviet Union. They are saying 'so what if we weren't allowed to speak our minds freely, if we had choices made for us, we had free housing, free education, free healthcare, everyone could find a job, there was almost no violence on the streets, we were feeling secure and could live our lives happily'.
So the biggest question is whether people actually want democracy? What do they understand by this term anyway? Voting, electing the representatives - some say this. Freedoms, liberties - quite common answers. I wouldn't be surprised to find out some people think democracy is a form of government that cares about its people and makes them happy by any and all means possible.))
I want to talk about the democracy in the meaning of the government by the people. The ability of the people to take part in the shaping of their country's domestic and foreign policies. The fair elections, free press are in this particular case just the means of achieving this ultimate goal of governing. But can people actually influence things? And how bad do they want to have their say in decisions regarding various areas of social life?
My guess is - not bad enough for democracy to be possible.
The problem, in my opinion, lies in the fact that most people seem to perceive democracy as only their rights but not obligations. Yes, in some places voting is literally an obligation and skipping on it is punishable by fine. But is showing up to vote once in 3-5 years is all it takes for democracy to thrive?
I like the expression 'if voting ever changed anything, they'd make it illegal'.
The place in power is never vacant. There have always been and always will be persons who crave power. And there always are people who realize having someone in power as your lobbyist is tremendously good for big business. So while the majority of people keep living their lives caring only about their own narrow interests, the minority is taking in their hands something that the majority doesn't want anyway.
A country may have democracy in the beginning, but when it's not being cherished and guarded, it disappears, it rots, it is being hijacked and turned into either dictatorship or corporatocracy dressed as a democracy.
For the people's will to be executed, they need to control its execution on a daily basis. By being involved, by keeping an eye on those representatives, by pressuring the elected officials to stick to their campaign promises because that's what people were voting for (supposedly), by being active.
When every citizen will be a member of some non-governmental organization, some activists group, then perhaps we can have a real democracy. Then the power will indeed lie in the hands of the people who care about stuff. But that's too much work, right? We just want to have a 'beauty contest' (or rather a bullshit contest) on tv every 4 years or so, pick the cutest guy, throw in the ballot and not bother ourselves with anything else. We don't want to write or call our representatives, we don't want to organize protests for every little injustice or abuse or corruption that we are witnessing, we don't want to spend time trying to educate ourselves about something. So the cunning guys in power know they can relax and pursue their own interests. They know in most cases we won't fight back.
This is why today who we are really seeing in power are representatives of some corporations, not the people. And this game is very much pleasant and fun for them. All you gotta do is buy a good media network, convince enough of tv-zombies to vote for your guy and call the whole thing a democracy. The rule of a cunning minority supported and legitimized by the gullible majority.
The only pain in the ass for the ruling 'elite' is the internet as the only remaining media that they don't have much control over (some countries excluded). But hey, aren't they trying to rationalize the need to establish it? And then, not many people actually use it to dig out the truth and read informational resources. So what you do is create more entertainment on TV and most folks will spend their free time next to the tube.
So, on one hand I'm glad people are flooding the streets to make their voice heard. Better late then never. But I'm worried after the revolutions are over, things will get back to the way they were: people will relax and mind their own business, and the new leaders will come to power to only mind theirs.
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That is why I don't trust politicians and I do not make new years resolutions.
Same here. Although I assume some people come into politics with decent intentions. Only they usually don't last too long. Ever seen Perkins talk about being an economic hitman? link to youtube search >>
Yeah, such website would've been a cool thing. But then, there are tech guys behind it, you'd have to keep a close eye on them.