Is Democracy overrated?

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LennyBicknel
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Not sure if this is the correct place to post, but whatever. Sit back, get a drink, and get ready to read some edgy sh*t.

Recently, I've been considering why democracy may be an inherently flawed, ineffective and incorrectly-praised system of governance, and how other systems may cater to our current needs more effectively. In essence, why an undemocratic system may be more favourable.

I imagine the first thought that arises to many is "fascist" or "freedom hater". Firstly, Democracy is not synonymous with civil liberties, rights and freedoms; one is a system of government, the other are a set of agendas. One comes from the other; they don't exist by the other's existence.

A democratic system is just as capable of eroding civil liberties than an undemocratic one; similarly, an undemocratic system could equally implement rights and freedoms, although history's narrative surrounding such systems (i.e. Fascism under Hitler and Mussolini, 'Communism' under Stalin and Mao etc.) has eradicated such a possibility in the eyes of many - it's important to remember the circumstances in which such regimes existed, as to why they felt the need to erode rights.

With this presumption out of the way, let me tackle some of my biggest gripes with democracy -

> It inevitably entails corruption and fraud - throughout the current democratic system of the world, democracy makes governance a career rather than, say, a 'duty'. This has a series of detrimental consequences - for one, it forces elected individuals to focus on keeping their job and source of income rather than fulfilling their roles in governing; this may mean making 're-election campaigning' a substantial portion of their time, or may force politicians to engage within 'alternative means' of retaining power (i.e. forming 'alliances' with important individuals or groups in secrecy; forming deals to further their path on the career ladder etc.)

> It invests responsibility into the irresponsible - politicians understand politics, not policies; in many ways, we do already reside in an undemocratic system - responsibility over policy formulation is devolved to civil servants and government agencies, whilst politicians provide the 'front'. As Machiavelli points out, however, it is these 'fronts' (or sweetshop owners as he coined them, I believe) which win elections - policy specialists are not attractive to the, ultimately, apathetic and self-centred electorate (not to say this is a bad thing - on the contrary, life should be about one's own fulfilment). These people are election-specialists, not policy-specialists.

> It is ineffective, cumbersome and slow - democracy inevitably entails groups, predominantly in the form of parties; groups of people and thought need to 'represented', after all. Such groups, whose sole purpose in existence is to see its fellow groups fail, will never truly cooperate under a democratic system - attempting radical policies and unveiling new ideas is feared due to the PR repercussions, and the threat posed to their careers. Factions, therefore, bicker, rather than governing. The idea of 'election cycles' also prevents long term planning from being effectively conducted, as such schemes can be eradicated or lost from one faction to the other.

Reforms can only momentarily silence these issues - they are ingrained in democracy as a system.

I could go into these points in more detail, but I feel like this has gone on long enough. If you want, I can offer my alternative to democracy, but whatevs.

TLDR: Democracy is inherently corrupt and ineffective, whilst simultaneously empowering self-serving electioneers who cater for an ultimately apathetic electorate. The notion that democracy brings freedoms is wrong.
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Carlylean
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(Original post by LennyBicknel)
Not sure if this is the correct place to post, but whatever. Sit back, get a drink, and get ready to read some edgy sh*t.

Recently, I've been considering why democracy may be an inherently flawed, ineffective and incorrectly-praised system of governance, and how other systems may cater to our current needs more effectively. In essence, why an undemocratic system may be more favourable.

I imagine the first thought that arises to many is "fascist" or "freedom hater". Firstly, Democracy is not synonymous with civil liberties, rights and freedoms; one is a system of government, the other are a set of agendas. One comes the other; one doesn't arise from the existence of the other.

A democratic system is just as capable of eroding civil liberties than an undemocratic one; similarly, an undemocratic system could equally implement rights and freedoms, although history's narrative surrounding such systems (i.e. Fascism under Hitler and Mussolini, 'Communism' under Stalin and Mao etc.) has eradicated such a possibility in the eyes of many - it's important to remember the circumstances in which such regimes existed, as to why they felt the need to erode rights.

With this presumption out of the way, let me tackle some of my biggest gripes with democracy -

> It inevitably entails corruption and fraud - throughout the current democratic system of the world, democracy makes governance a career rather than, say, a 'duty'. This has a series of detrimental consequences - for one, it forces elected individuals to focus on keeping their job and source of income rather than fulfilling their roles in governing; this may mean making 're-election campaigning' a substantial portion of their time, or may force politicians to engage within 'alternative means' of retaining power (i.e. forming 'alliances' with important individuals or groups in secrecy; forming deals to further their path on the career ladder etc.)

> It invests responsibility into the irresponsible - politicians understand politics, not policies; in many ways, we do already reside in an undemocratic system - responsibility over policy formulation is devolved to civil servants and government agencies, whilst politicians provide the 'front'. As Machiavelli points out, however, it is these 'fronts' (or sweetshop owners as he coined them, I believe) which win elections - policy specialists are not attractive to the, ultimately, apathetic and self-centred electorate (not to say this is a bad thing - on the contrary, life should be about one's own fulfilment). These people are election-specialists, not policy-specialists.

> It is ineffective, cumbersome and slow - democracy inevitably entails parties, predominantly in the form of parties; groups of people and thought need to 'represented', after all. Such groups, whose sole purpose in existence is to see its fellow groups fail, will never truly cooperate under a democratic system - attempting radical policies and unveiling new ideas is feared due to the PR repercussions, and the threat posed to their careers. Factions, therefore, bicker, rather than governing. The idea of 'election cycles' also prevents long term planning from being effectively conducted, as such schemes can be eradicated or lost from one faction to the other.

Reforms can only momentarily silence these issues - they are ingrained in democracy as a system.

I could go into these points in more detail, but I feel like this has gone on long enough. If you want, I can offer my alternative to democracy, but whatevs.

TLDR: Democracy is inherently corrupt and ineffective, whilst simultaneously empowering self-serving electioneers who cater for an ultimately apathetic electorate. The notion that democracy brings freedoms is wrong.
Amen.
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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by Carlylean)
Amen.
<3
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username1799249
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But, unlike corrupt undemocratic regims, you can always elect someone or stand for election in a democracy. I can't think of any dictatorships that made for better society.
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999tigger
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(Original post by LennyBicknel)
Not sure if this is the correct place to post, but whatever. Sit back, get a drink, and get ready to read some edgy sh*t.

Recently, I've been considering why democracy may be an inherently flawed, ineffective and incorrectly-praised system of governance, and how other systems may cater to our current needs more effectively. In essence, why an undemocratic system may be more favourable.

I imagine the first thought that arises to many is "fascist" or "freedom hater". Firstly, Democracy is not synonymous with civil liberties, rights and freedoms; one is a system of government, the other are a set of agendas. One comes from the other; they don't exist by the other's existence.

A democratic system is just as capable of eroding civil liberties than an undemocratic one; similarly, an undemocratic system could equally implement rights and freedoms, although history's narrative surrounding such systems (i.e. Fascism under Hitler and Mussolini, 'Communism' under Stalin and Mao etc.) has eradicated such a possibility in the eyes of many - it's important to remember the circumstances in which such regimes existed, as to why they felt the need to erode rights.

With this presumption out of the way, let me tackle some of my biggest gripes with democracy -

> It inevitably entails corruption and fraud - throughout the current democratic system of the world, democracy makes governance a career rather than, say, a 'duty'. This has a series of detrimental consequences - for one, it forces elected individuals to focus on keeping their job and source of income rather than fulfilling their roles in governing; this may mean making 're-election campaigning' a substantial portion of their time, or may force politicians to engage within 'alternative means' of retaining power (i.e. forming 'alliances' with important individuals or groups in secrecy; forming deals to further their path on the career ladder etc.)

> It invests responsibility into the irresponsible - politicians understand politics, not policies; in many ways, we do already reside in an undemocratic system - responsibility over policy formulation is devolved to civil servants and government agencies, whilst politicians provide the 'front'. As Machiavelli points out, however, it is these 'fronts' (or sweetshop owners as he coined them, I believe) which win elections - policy specialists are not attractive to the, ultimately, apathetic and self-centred electorate (not to say this is a bad thing - on the contrary, life should be about one's own fulfilment). These people are election-specialists, not policy-specialists.

> It is ineffective, cumbersome and slow - democracy inevitably entails parties, predominantly in the form of parties; groups of people and thought need to 'represented', after all. Such groups, whose sole purpose in existence is to see its fellow groups fail, will never truly cooperate under a democratic system - attempting radical policies and unveiling new ideas is feared due to the PR repercussions, and the threat posed to their careers. Factions, therefore, bicker, rather than governing. The idea of 'election cycles' also prevents long term planning from being effectively conducted, as such schemes can be eradicated or lost from one faction to the other.

Reforms can only momentarily silence these issues - they are ingrained in democracy as a system.

I could go into these points in more detail, but I feel like this has gone on long enough. If you want, I can offer my alternative to democracy, but whatevs.

TLDR: Democracy is inherently corrupt and ineffective, whilst simultaneously empowering self-serving electioneers who cater for an ultimately apathetic electorate. The notion that democracy brings freedoms is wrong.
1. Which countries with alternative forms of government are less corrupt than developed western democracies?

2. Which countries with alternative forms of government are more successful and happier due to not being a democracy? The source of the happiness needs to be down to the system of government, where the populace do not get to vote.

That would also reflect how well they are run. Give us your alternative examples.
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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by 999tigger)
1. Which countries with alternative forms of government are less corrupt than developed western democracies?

2. Which countries with alternative forms of government are more successful and happier due to not being a democracy? The source of the happiness needs to be down to the system of government, where the populace do not get to vote.

That would also reflect how well they are run. Give us your alternative examples.
I don't believe that any current alternative forms of government have been effective, uncorrupt or successful; but it would be wrong to subsequently assume that democracy is, therefore, the only feasible system of government.

These 'alternative forms' don't, in my eyes, represent the true capabilities of an undemocratic system, and have painted any reasoning against democracy as being pro-dictatorship; no democracy does not entail a dictatorship - that is a drastic oversimplification, and a narrow perspective to take.

A truly undemocratic system would reside, in my utopian vision, have no reason to be self-serving - there would be no parties, as there would be no representation. Governors would serve out of duty, not self-fulfilment or as a career, and be subject to strict regulations and term limits. The current undemocratic systems of the world do exist to be self-serving, and retain their grip on power (often achieved in a midst of extreme opposition surrounding them, warranting a clamping of rights and persecutions).
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999tigger
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(Original post by LennyBicknel)
I don't believe that any current alternative forms of government have been effective, uncorrupt or successful; but it would be wrong to subsequently assume that democracy is, therefore, the only feasible system of government.

These 'alternative forms' don't, in my eyes, represent the true capabilities of an undemocratic system, and have painted any reasoning against democracy as being pro-dictatorship; no democracy does not entail a dictatorship - that is a drastic oversimplification, and a narrow perspective to take.

A truly undemocratic system would reside, in my utopian vision, have no reason to be self-serving - there would be no parties, as there would be no representation. Governors would serve out of duty, not self-fulfilment or as a career, and be subject to strict regulations and term limits. The current undemocratic systems of the world do exist to be self-serving, and retain their grip on power (often achieved in a midst of extreme opposition surrounding them, warranting a clamping of rights and persecutions).
I'm just asking you for evidence, but as you cant provide any then, hen its just a theory from you. easy to critcise, but it lacks credibility if you cant suggest credible alternatives and why they will be superior.
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user 42005
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I agree, I don't particularly like democracy. But, as many have pointed out before our time, it is "least bad" form of government. The potential for corruption and bad decision making is a necessary evil in order to make bad governments replaceable, preventing tyrannies, which most certainly are worse than democracies (because there is no realistic way to ensure that the dictatorship is benevolent).

If you can post a realistic alternative, and not an idealistic one, then go right ahead - I'd very much like to read it
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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by 999tigger)
I'm just asking you for evidence, but as you cant provide any then, hen its just a theory from you. easy to critcise, but it lacks credibility if you cant suggest credible alternatives and why they will be superior.
(Original post by Count Bezukhov)
I agree, I don't particularly like democracy. But, as many have pointed out before our time, it is "least bad" form of government. The potential for corruption and bad decision making is a necessary evil in order to make bad governments replaceable, preventing tyrannies, which most certainly are worse than democracies (because there is no realistic way to ensure that the dictatorship is benevolent).

If you can post a realistic alternative, and not an idealistic one, then go right ahead - I'd very much like to read it


I think I was too quick to say that I have an 'alternative' to democracy - it's mostly just ideas at the moment (e.g. Government would consist of a single chambered 'Senate' - or whatever it would be called - consisting of X number of 'Senators'; Senators would receive no pay, and be barred to a 5 year term; 'executive power' would reside within a 4 central Senators etc. etc.) As I said - just ideas.

Perhaps I should have restrained my post to just 'criticisms' of democracy, but eh.

Also, - I fully understand this. Humans are self-serving creatures through evolution - I never said that my, or any other person's alternative, was 'perfect'. I'm just throwing my opinions into the mix.
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mojojojo101
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I think you are making a fundamental error when you criticise Democracy in that what you actually mean is the more narrowly defined Representative Democracy.

I am not a big fan of Representative Democracy and generally hold the same criticisms as you, the way I propse to address that couldn't be more different though.

Taking the criticisms you lay out at the bottom of your post all three (the 3rdmore debatably) not by removing democratic principles but by enhancing them to their full conclusion; Direct Democracy.

(Original post by ByEeek)
But, unlike corrupt undemocratic regims, you can always elect someone or stand for election in a democracy. I can't think of any dictatorships that made for better society.
Representative democracies normally have a huge amount of hurdles to get over before you could even think of making any reasonable measure of change. Affecting mass change in Wesfgern Democracies is actually pretty difficult.
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username1799249
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(Original post by mojojojo101)
Representative democracies normally have a huge amount of hurdles to get over before you could even think of making any reasonable measure of change. Affecting mass change in Wesfgern Democracies is actually pretty difficult.
Agreed. But it is possible. Three examples in the UK recently are Tony Blairs landslide in 97, Brexit and the SNPs whitewash of Scottish politics. The difficulty is tapping into a public mood but it can be done.
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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by mojojojo101)
I think you are making a fundamental error when you criticise Democracy in that what you actually mean is the more narrowly defined Representative Democracy.

I am not a big fan of Representative Democracy and generally hold the same criticisms as you, the way I propse to address that couldn't be more different though.

Taking the criticisms you lay out at the bottom of your post all three (the 3rdmore debatably) not by removing democratic principles but by enhancing them to their full conclusion; Direct Democracy.



Representative democracies normally have a huge amount of hurdles to get over before you could even think of making any reasonable measure of change. Affecting mass change in Wesfgern Democracies is actually pretty difficult.
Fair point. But, then again, direct democracies are equally susceptible to the inefficiencies of a representative democracy, if not more so. Total direct democracies rely upon the participation of the entire population in order to be effective - can this be expected from people? If not, a minority of vocal individuals could, arguably, 'run the show'. Perhaps this is more an issue of civic education.

Furthermore, I view direct democracies to be rather cumbersome - how can legislation effectively be passed, at a rate at which a modern society demands, if it requires millions upon millions of people to participate at once? Additionally, who decides which bills are voted on? A 'governing class'? The short-sightedness of most would also prevent long-term planning via the majority from ever being realised.
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