Democracy and Equality
In the western world, democracy and equality are principles held dear by many. As such, I am here to poke at them with a stick and examine them critically. What are they really, and are they what they seem?
A democracy is a political system of majority rule. Under the principle of political equality, everyone has an equal say. That is, unless they are too young, convicted felons, not naturalized citizens, or otherwise left out of the system. A democracy also makes no distinction between knowledge and opinion. Ninety-nine people with ignorant opinions outweigh one expert. Then there is the small matter of liberty, the core principle democracy is supposed to uphold first and foremost. Ninety-nine control freaks outweigh the liberty of the individual dissenter. Something seems broken here.
At this point, I anticipate responses with some variation of Winston Churchill's famous quote that, "...democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." American patriots are also likely to respond with, "That's why we have a republic and not a democracy. Checks and balances! The Constitution! The Founding Fathers! Now love it or leave it!" OK. Thanks for the pep rally. We were still sold a bill of goods, and even if we think this system is the best we've had, that doesn't mean it's immune to criticism or impossible to reject.
And what of equality? People are unique. We all have our own value scales, talents, shortcomings, experiences, and knowledge. We are unequal, and that is a good thing. That said, equality before the law is still a good principle. No one is born with a magical superiority over their fellow humans. No one has legitimate claim to special rights, or authority to trespass where others may not. However, politics subverts this principle by its very nature. Politicians, their enforcers in the police and military, and their cronies in the corporate world and special interest groups are legally or extralegally held to more lenient standards. That is antithetical to the very principles they claim to protect and defend.
Democracy is rooted in the principle that the majority trumps the minority. Republican forms of government and constitutional protections claim to temper this abuse, but instead it creates a political class that is free to abuse the general populace while keeping them at each other's throats in an illusory squabble for power. In short, to hell with democracy, and to hell with counterfeit equality. We can do better. Stop making excuses for injustice. Be truly equal. Be free, and respect the liberty of your neighbor. That is what matters. Not the next election. Not political intrigue. Not legislation. It begins with you.