One of the most wide-spread misconceptions about democracy is, that it, once given, perfects itself, in other words, progresses towards an ideal of justice.
The problem is, democracy is only an abstract concept, not an actor. It does not do anything on its own, it does not even exist as an independent entity in the first place.
It is we who have to act, or better, because “we” is a weak concept as well, it is I and it is you who have to act. To demand moral behavior from a government is futile. A government is nothing but a compromise between concurrent forces within a society. Those forces are not driven by ideals, they are driven by egoistic interests. A government is a mirror of the balance between these forces.
But “government” is also a weak concept. A government consists of actual persons and they represent egoistic groups on the one hand and their own egoistic interests on the other hand. When you think of that, it’s a miracle that they even get anything done at all.
Democracy is a weak concept, it does not exist as an actor, it does not exist as an entity, and therefore it does not have any force of its own. Democracy does not perfect itself, it does not progress, it is a weak, unstable configuration of political forces, and that we have enjoyed it for so long, does not mean that we will be able to do it perpetually.
At the moment we see a decline. It is world-wide. Democracy is strongly coupled to freedom, but freedom does not mean a thing to those who are free. People don’t value freedom, they value security. People may have their problems with what is, but they fear to change it. People are inherently conservative.
In the moment, governments all over the world use lies and deceit to erect walls around us, to take away our freedom, and they do that under the pretense of conserving our security. The problem is, and that is what most people don’t get, the most secure of all places is a prison, and that’s exactly where the decline of our democracy leads us.
Why should governments do that? Well, it is because they consist of politicians, and although politicians represent the forces of society, they normally don’t represent all forces. They represent the wealthy, the well educated, the elite. It does not matter what party, it does not matter what political program, the political actors are normally representative of only a small part of the society, and therefore democracies naturally tend to decline towards oligarchy.
The pet enemy of most politicians seems to be the Internet. The more naive among them regard it only as a new mass medium that they can’t control, mostly because of its international structure. And even if some of them understand what the Internet is, a universal, ever changing communication infrastructure, pure anarchic power, raw democracy, the most concentrated political force of all times, the universal memory of mankind, the voice of voices, the ultimate negation of political lies – it naturally scares them.
No, it is no coincidence that so-called democratic governments throughout the world, along with openly undemocratic governments, use the fear of terrorism and the phantom of child pornography to erect walls, to circle us in, to keep our voices down.
Don’t let them get away with it.
Most of the time the lyrics of the Song of the Day don’t have any connection with either image or text, but today I find them well matched: The song from the 1990 James album “Gold Mother” is all about breaking down “Government Walls“. Hear it on YouTube.