The News In Shorts

How the news would look if everyone stopped waffling and told the truth.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

The End Of Democracy.

John Adams, the second President of the United States, once observed "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." He was probably thinking of the first democracy, ancient Athens, where democracy descended into a spiteful witch-hunt of the "undeserving" within the span of a single generation and culminated with the judicious murder of Socrates. The democracy of the west has done a little better than that and has seen off some very determined enemies along the way. What it can't survive, however, is the enemy within. So who is this enemy exactly? Some dark demonic Machiavelli ruthlessly determined to grab power just for the sake of it? Well, yes - though in a modern developed democracy this is rarely achieved by the simple expedient of seizing power by force. Even Hitler knew that, though he gave it a try in 1923 during the Munich putsch when he reasoned that democracy in Germany was anything but developed. No, democracies are all too often overthrown by those who have the largest stake in it - the electorate. The path to this destruction, as the history of ancient Athens illustrates all too well, lies through the demagogue. The man who twists the truth for his own ends and persuades millions that he is righteous and that, for their own good, they must vote away their rights. Men like David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg whose coalition provides the necessary democratic veneer for some very anti-democratic policies. The collapse of the world economy in 2008 because of the criminal behaviour of the financial industry was a wake up call. Instead, it has proven to be the means to put us all to sleep. The system did not work except in the interests of a small minority but, when it went bad, it was bailed out by the majority who had gained little advantage from it. How was this confidence trick achieved? By scapegoating, by pointing the finger at the "undeserving", by dividing society into opposing camps whose disunity would allow the criminals who caused it all to get away with it. In this sense we are all Socrates - condemned to a slow agonising death by economic poison to divert attention away from those who are really guilty and have no real interest in you, me or democracy.

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