I put something down (but didn’t post it) on the subject of democracy a few months back. Recently the Economist ran a very good piece on the state of democracy, and the challenges it faces, around the world. But they missed the crucial point that I make it my piece below. Democracy is not God-given (God has never opined on the subject of democracy), it is fragile, it is remarkable that we have it, we should be thankful and guard it with our lives. We need to recognise how right and left are both valid positions, how each country’s past will colour its attempts at a democratic present, how in may countries it will not be in the way we understand it in the West, recognise too that it exists in hybrid forms, and that evolution toward democracy is slow and in no way Darwinian – bastard lines may usurp, pure lines may be sidelined, autocracy waits in the wings.
Miracles in life: 1] Democracy (other ‘Miracles’ may follow!)
The miracle is – How we all come together and beyond the ties of family and kinship set up governments and abide by their laws, and beyond that how we work within democracies, which might be the least-worst form of government, but looked at another way are a miracle, a triumph of human nature, where without compulsion and out of self-interest and fellow-feeling we come together and confront and debate and decide.
Those who criticise and claim disillusion live in a short-sighted world where human rights are if not God-given somehow natural laws and one of those human rights is democracy, which foolish men in foolish governments seeks all the time to subvert. Democracy is a human accomplishment, not a human right, and it takes all our commitments, as voters, as fellow workers for the cause, to make it work. Democracy battles against apathy and animosity for its own survival.
Criticise politicians for their arguments and decisions but don’t criticise them as a breed of men if you’re not prepared to join and argue with them – be a part of the process. If you wish to hold them accountable, be accountable yourselves.
Foolish men and media rail against government and politicians. They are the unaccountable ones, and all their foolishness, all the vindictiveness goes without challenge.
As Yeats wrote:
Mock mockers after that/That would not lift a hand maybe/To help good, wise or great/To bar that foul storm out, for we/Traffic in mockery