When In Rome

The recent revenge on a few bankers is almost too ridiculous to mention for the panaceas thrown to the people have always been the way of tyrants and despots and I am sure a few hundred years ago a few men would be without their heads today. What was more interesting was a contrite business leader saying on the BBC news that capitalism is not a good system but it is better than the others out there. Another mantra for those who are not used to thinking.

First let us begin by admitting that capitalism IS NOT democracy. Capitalism is the accruing of wealth and from what I can see tyrants and Communists are pretty good at that, they are just useless at sharing.  The democratic principles of conscience, freedom of speech and association and many others, are not capitalism. So what we have is democratic capitalism, and that is not the best idea out there because capitalism necessarily brings boom and bust cycles and appeals to greed and selfishness.

There must be forms of capitalism that we can marry with democracy that do better than that? That do away with the whole idea of nations and treat the world as one Eco-system without which there is no money, unless of course we are planning to build a new world somewhere else and feel we can trash this one completely first.

Rampant self interest and greed do no go well with democracy.

Fighting For Votes

No country in the world has ever given voting rights to citizens without a fight. And with the struggle in the Middle East for democratic rights its become obvious that people the world over want those rights. So why the fighting?

The reasoned critique of leadership starts with the tribal ‘headman’, the best fighter, the tallest, strongest male person. This is a leader who leads because he is too strong to defeat. In a world where other tribes may attack strength is an attribute, and strength in the modern world is still seen as desirable though not always individual physical strength. Financial clout superseded physical strength long ago, and now we have the slow emergence of probity as more desirable in a leader than it has ever been.

Leaders still see themselves as winners because the system that elects them pits them against many contenders. At the heart of the corruption of democratic states lies this fight to win.

When Rome was emerging as a power it was in crisis and the Senate sent emissaries to Agricola to ask him to take over the reins of power. He was a military man. He asked them to give him supreme power and in return he would step down after ten years. His rule was violent to some, hard and lasted ten years after which the faction fighting had abated. He could have stayed. There were none to challenge him. He stepped down as agreed.

What seasoned democratic states need from their leaders is an agreement as to how they will be as people, far more than their policies this is the most important contract we can have with our leaders. There is no one today we could trust to do what Agricola did: keep their word in the crisis.

True Democracy

I was always surprised as a teenager and beginning to think about politics in the West, how people voted for things that were of particular moment to them. It seemed to me strange to vote for a leader of a country based narrowly of the benefits that would accrue to oneself from any particular candidate. After all this was not just ones leader but everyone’s, and a more rounded estimate of the benefits to the country seemed to me to be more important. Further I saw very clearly that politicians knew people voted in their own self interest and offered ‘constituencies’ of voters candies in their manifestos deliberately to obtain their votes.

In the nineteenth century MPs in the UK would give out money and cart people to the voting booths having virtually bought their support. There is really no difference between then and now.

The problem is people think that is a good use of their vote and never question the fact, but actually it shows how many voters in the West have no truly democratic instincts. You vote to better your country, to make a better world, because we use politics to make laws and laws make civilisations. To vote for anyone because you are going to personally be better of each month financially, or to ignore people who will suffer because of your candidate and not care, is to betray the future, not make it.

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