Is democracy a failure?

Oct 2016
692
On a magic carpet
#1
It seems to me democracy in England and the USA is broken. After observing politics, I have come to the conclusion that this is no way to run a country, and that the system is a travesty, a farce, an absolute joke, and a horrible way of deciding public affairs.

Why?

1. Elections are a cheap popularity contest. People don't vote on the issues, they don't vote on deep consideration of facts and evidence - instead they vote for whoever is better at marketing. This is no way to decide who the leader should be - and it leads to absurdity.

2. Leaders make impossible promises, often proposing actions that are directly the opposite of what should be done in the national interest. For example, promising tax cuts AND increased spending on public services. The reality is you can either increase taxes to fund more spending, or you can cut taxes and reduce spending - but you obviously can't do both at the same time. Democracy is a fraud, a sham and a joke.

3. Irresponsible voters.

Ask the people if they want increased taxes, they'll vote "No". Ask them if they want more hospitals, schools, roads, etc they'll vote "Yes". It doesn't take a genius to work out that this leads to ruin, fast. No wonder the deficit and public debt are so high. Governments consistently spend more than they earn, year on year. Eventually, if this madness doesn't stop, just servicing the interest repayments on the debt will become so expensive that the country will be bankrupt.

4. Uneducated voters.

In the UK, voters voted for Brexit, a policy that will obviously damage the nation's economy and society, in the name of false claims about immigration, the "other" and Islamisation of the UK and other such far-right wing fantasies.

The nation went from being one of the most successful in the world to a complete basket case virtually over night, completely obliterating its own standing and respect in the world and turning the country into a laughing stock. The economy began to fail and people began leaving, to be followed by many of the most successful companies and businesses.

The country literally blew itself up based on a pack of lies, media hysteria, propaganda and mass insanity. Again, this is no way to run a country. There must be a better way.

I look to the model of some European countries, with proportional representation and stable politics and a healthier media, and I see what's deeply missing in England (and possibly the US too). In the case of America, it seems Republicans and Democrats would rather get into bed with the devil himself than work together in the national interest and take sensible, rational decisions. It's utter madness.

Rant over. Are the English-speaking democracies a failure? Can there be a better model of democracy, e.g. Europe? Or is democracy itself a failure? And how could it be improved?

I'm well aware that all the alternatives that have so far been tried are even worse (autocracy, theocracy, communism, fuedalism, etc). So how could politics be fixed? What is the solution to it all?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,260
Dispargum
#2
People get the government they deserve. If people won't follow the issues, stay informed, and make intelligent, rational, responsible decisions then they get bad government. Democracy at least offers people the option to choose good government even if most of the time people don't make this choice. All of the other forms of government only offer bad government.
 
Apr 2012
1,038
The Netherlands
#3
Maybe, Maybe not

If 20 years from now the EU has fallen through populist wolves being voted into office and all of Europe forced to lower its pants and kneel deeply to Russia, China, America and whatever mayor power that feels it can boss around some dwarf nations then yes. One could argue that democracy has failed because Europe's fall was explicitly voted to be the policy that should be pursued.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Maybe the populist wolves get in power, blow up the EU and things won't be so bad or perhaps they will be held accountable for their misrule like any failing government in a democratic system. And that would just be business as usual in a democracy.

And same with Trump. Maybe he unleashes lasting harm on the US because people found it funny to vote someone completely unqualified into office or perhaps the democratic institutions around him manage to keep him in check. And its the later scenario that seems closer to reality right now. The democratic system beating out Trump might just prove how strong and robust it really is.
 
Aug 2017
74
USA
#4
2-4 I agree with, no further comment needed. I think you're wrong on #1 though. People rarely vote as a popularity contest, most people don't seem to care for even the politician they voted for. They more seem to vote against a specific person, vote purely on party, or vote a single issue and don't care that everything else that person stands for would be terrible to them.
 
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#5
IDK, Sufi.

If we consider "democracy" as necessarily good, noble, creating a better society, better people, we could say that democracy was almost always broken.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,628
#6
No.

Democracy has all the flaws you mentioned, but it is still the least bad way to govern a country.

I'll take democracy with all it's warts over living under an authoritarian regime where the average citizen has very little in the way of personal liberty.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,815
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#7
Ok ... that's democracy!

It seems to me democracy in England and the USA is broken. After observing politics, I have come to the conclusion that this is no way to run a country, and that the system is a travesty, a farce, an absolute joke, and a horrible way of deciding public affairs.

Why?

1. Elections are a cheap popularity contest. People don't vote on the issues, they don't vote on deep consideration of facts and evidence - instead they vote for whoever is better at marketing. This is no way to decide who the leader should be - and it leads to absurdity.

2. Leaders make impossible promises, often proposing actions that are directly the opposite of what should be done in the national interest. For example, promising tax cuts AND increased spending on public services. The reality is you can either increase taxes to fund more spending, or you can cut taxes and reduce spending - but you obviously can't do both at the same time. Democracy is a fraud, a sham and a joke.

3. Irresponsible voters.

Ask the people if they want increased taxes, they'll vote "No". Ask them if they want more hospitals, schools, roads, etc they'll vote "Yes". It doesn't take a genius to work out that this leads to ruin, fast. No wonder the deficit and public debt are so high. Governments consistently spend more than they earn, year on year. Eventually, if this madness doesn't stop, just servicing the interest repayments on the debt will become so expensive that the country will be bankrupt.

4. Uneducated voters.

In the UK, voters voted for Brexit, a policy that will obviously damage the nation's economy and society, in the name of false claims about immigration, the "other" and Islamisation of the UK and other such far-right wing fantasies.

The nation went from being one of the most successful in the world to a complete basket case virtually over night, completely obliterating its own standing and respect in the world and turning the country into a laughing stock. The economy began to fail and people began leaving, to be followed by many of the most successful companies and businesses.

The country literally blew itself up based on a pack of lies, media hysteria, propaganda and mass insanity. Again, this is no way to run a country. There must be a better way.

I look to the model of some European countries, with proportional representation and stable politics and a healthier media, and I see what's deeply missing in England (and possibly the US too). In the case of America, it seems Republicans and Democrats would rather get into bed with the devil himself than work together in the national interest and take sensible, rational decisions. It's utter madness.

Rant over. Are the English-speaking democracies a failure? Can there be a better model of democracy, e.g. Europe? Or is democracy itself a failure? And how could it be improved?

I'm well aware that all the alternatives that have so far been tried are even worse (autocracy, theocracy, communism, fuedalism, etc). So how could politics be fixed? What is the solution to it all?
Great analysis, but that's democracy, after all.

Democracy is not a model ... it's a variable system.

Just today we see that in China they are allowing the present national leader to be leader for all his life ... that's dictatorship.

Democracy is simple: people decides.

In Italy recent elections [last week] have given us a parliament without a clear majority. So what?

Should we prefer a dictator? No ... we shouldn't ... if they won't be able to make a government we will vote again.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,687
India
#8
Great analysis, but that's democracy, after all.

Democracy is not a model ... it's a variable system.

Just today we see that in China they are allowing the present national leader to be leader for all his life ... that's dictatorship.

Democracy is simple: people decides.

In Italy recent elections [last week] have given us a parliament without a clear majority. So what?

Should we prefer a dictator? No ... we shouldn't ... if they won't be able to make a government we will vote again.
Exactly, in the last its upto the people of that country to make democracy a success. Democracy allows people of all sort of ideologies aka Central-left, Right wing, communist, regional parties to sit at same place in the Parliament and make policies for the country, such co-existence bring stability to the country.
Otherwise, all we see countries are fighting in Middle East, Africa, South America or East Asia to impose their ideology on the entire country and the bloodshed goes on.
 
Aug 2012
1,554
#9
Yes. Democracy is a decadent system of government, destined to fall into a cycle of corruption and authoritarianism. Engendering an unqualified people with political power is neither moral nor prudent, and will only lead to a weak and fickle state, whose norms change with whatever new leader is voted on.
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,546
Athens, Greece
#10
I'm well aware that all the alternatives that have so far been tried are even worse (autocracy, theocracy, communism, fuedalism, etc). So how could politics be fixed? What is the solution to it all?
Direct democracy. At least there, no one can hide behind this or that representative. People are forced to face important decisions themselves, take responsibility for their impact on their lives, consider the consequences beforehand, and in order to fulfill the role of being truly a citizen, become more educated, involved, responsible. We expect too much of people who become part of a system that is distanced from the electorate base, a system that has its own laws, a microcosmos vulnerable to various interests, gravitational forces, and all the flaws of human nature multiplied by the power concentration in selected hands. While the electorate becomes increasingly lazy and apathetic to political life, becoming "idiots" in the Ancient Greek meaning of the word, and equally deserving the contempt the term was associated with.

Besides, these are not true democracies, hence democracy cannot be deemed a failure by judging them. Our political systems are more akin to the republican model, bread and circuses is a facet of it.
 
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