Posted tagged ‘populism’

Democracy Being a Free Good Endangers its Existence

September 10, 2016

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Breathing democratic freedom is neither easy nor free; it entails both rights and obligations and most importantly knowledge of current fundamental issues. But in most democracies their constituents tend to uphold and demand more their rights than their obligations, and more deplorably, a sizable number of them exercise their rights in a state of ignorance. This imbalance, however, between rights and obligations, as well as lack of knowledge of the real issues, puts in jeopardy the functioning of a politically just and economically productive democracy, and indeed endangers its existence as a form of government.

Moreover, it makes its voters who are uninformed of the points at issue captive to populist slogans and to that everlasting traducer of democracy, identified by Aristotle, demagogy, that appeals to the hopes and fears of the electors and by propagandistic lies and false promises opens the doors of power to demagogues. This is exemplified by two recent political events in our times: Alexis Tsipras and his party of Syriza winning the elections in Greece on a wave of populism and unprecedented lies and false promises in the political history of the country, and of the plebiscite of the UK, whose two leaders of Brexit, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, with a farrago of lies and dire fictions were able to hoodwink a major part of the populace to vote for the exit of Britain from the European Union. On a smaller scale this also has happened in the Australian elections, when the Labor Party by its scare campaign that the Liberal Coalition would privatize Medicare, succeeded in convincing a large part of the electorate of this fictitious threat with the result of Liberals losing so many seats that brought the country on the edge of a hang parliament.

How can one remedy the weaknesses of democracy and protect its constituents from becoming victims to populism and to demagogy with catastrophic results to the well-being of society and to its continued economic prosperity? Some people believe that the answer lies in bringing cultural and ethical changes among the people that would make them immune to this toxic virus of populist-demagogy; and thus leading gradually to the cashiering and inexorable dismissal of all demagogic and populist leaders from the domain of politics. The difficulty and danger of such a solution however is that cultural change is a slow process and during its gestation and vicissitudes in a long run may in the meantime unhinge democracy from its door of freedom, by the actions of feckless, inept, and irresponsible politicians, and incarcerate it within the dungeon of dictatorship. A safer and faster solution would be to enact radical changes to the electoral voting system by suspending in certain circumstances temporarily parts of the electorate from voting.

On what principle could one suggest such an unequal voting system that would discriminate so deliberately between social groups in the ambience of democracy, and which group would be the unequal part in the democratic process? The guiding principle of the first part of the question must explicitly aim to the continued viability and stability of a democratic system, in the context of which, the economic well-being of society depends and guarantees the further expansion of wealth that renders to the people a wide choice where to employ their talents and skills that would push their living standard onto higher plateaus and make their lives congenial to their desires. The second part, i.e., the social group that would be unequally treated, would be identified as that part that depends on welfare for its living and as a ‘debtor’ client of the government easily succumbs to populist slogans and rabble rousing; also, due to its low educational level and lack of interest in important matters, it deprives it from having adequate knowledge of the issues involved and hence is completely unqualified to make a sober judgment on these issues. It is mainly this social group that brings to power demagogues and millenarian ideologues that imperil the stability of the polity and its economic system. And, indeed, ironically pits this same social group into absolute poverty, and in turn destabilizes democracy itself, as it has happened with the political rise of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela; where its people after a contrived false prosperity are presently hunting dogs and cats to feed themselves. The same has happened with the Marxist Alexis Tsipras in Greece, where the pauperization of many of its ordinary people is exacerbated every day and has reached unprecedented high levels under his totally inept, ideologically barren and irresponsible government.

The enactment of this radical legislation would specifically suspend from the right to vote any person who had been on social welfare or unemployed for more than a year, and only with his/her ceasing on being on welfare or unemployed his/her right to vote would be restored. Such legislation would not only strengthen and secure the viability of democracy and the prosperity of its economic system, but would also deprive populist demagogues and political parties of a constituency upon whose existence they depend. Moreover, it would substantially reduce the spending of the welfare state and make it less precarious to the fiscal policy of the state and hence to the well-being of the country. This radical enactment takes a leaf from the cradle of democracy in classical Greece, Athenian democracy. The latter disenfranchised and suspended from voting citizens who had failed to pay a debt to the polis. Likewise, in a modern democracy people who were in debt for their living to the government, that is on welfare, would be suspended from casting a vote.

Needless to say, such a radical proposal, to occur in the ambit of the ‘spoils’ of the welfare state that has spoiled at least two generations of people by our carefree and stand at ease democracy, will not be easy to implement as it will rouse all the wrath and opposition of the ‘progressive’ bien pensants and the ‘good fellows’ of the dole. It will require extraordinarily strong and sagacious political leadership tha will unite parliamentary opposition parties into a gigantic wave that relentlessly will sweep away this ‘progressivist’ praetorian guard of the human rights, without responsibilities, of the dole takers, and throw this defiance of the sanctimonious goody-goodies into the dust bin of history.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

turn now

 

 

 

 

 

Rudd Stopping Boats at the Price of Exposing his Cant about his Humanitarianism

August 10, 2013

By Con George-Kotzabasis—June 24, 2013

At last, Kevin Rudd, after swallowing a double dose of Viagra he is entering the ‘seraglio of reality’ that you can only stop the boats carrying asylum seekers not by a policy of immaculate conception, as he has done in the past when he repudiated and displaced Howard’s Pacific Solution, but only by forcefully violating the ‘hymen’ of this intricately difficult problem and giving birth to a hard line policy that will decisively stop illegal migrants from entering Australia. His deal with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to resettle refugees in the latter is a masterstroke that will achieve this up till now elusive goal.

This is a craftily made disincentive that will comprehensibly deter asylum seekers from reaching the shores of Australia by boat, since they will know beforehand that they will be send to New Guinea for perpetual settlement. And with the barrage of advertisements that the Rudd government is preparing that will make explicit the new government policy to would-be refugees and by implicitly conveying to them the inimical environment in which they will be residing, this will erase any incentive  attempting to enter Australia by paying people smugglers when their dangerous and expensive passage over the sea will take them not to the social and economic paradise of Australia but to the hellish socio-economic conditions of the dangerous land of PNG. And the veracity of the appalling and dangerous environment in which refugees will be placed is being ironically corroborated, willy-nilly, by all their ‘humanitarian’ supporters, like David Marr, and defence lawyers, who have already in their shrill shouts denounced Rudd’s announcement as “a day of shame” for Australia depicting in dramatic terms the great dangers that refugees will be facing in this hellishly bad setting once they are settled in PNG. After refugees becoming cognisant of the infernal conditions in which they will be living in, by these statements of their own supporters too (thus all the fans and backers of asylum seekers will find themselves being redundant and deprived of their libidinal pleasure by showing their heart on their sleeves, by their own ironic contribution to the stopping of the boats), who of the illegal migrants would be willing to pay a smuggler to be transported by Charon to the Hades of PNG and not to the paradisiac land of Australia?

Beyond any doubt, if the Rudd government will retain to the end the strength and acquire the determination to implement this hard line policy and there are no insurmountable legal challenges to it will exultantly succeed in this endeavour to protect the borders of Australia. And Kevin Rudd from a weak politician will be metastasized into the Roman god Terminus who guarded the boundaries of the republic by the force of arms. But if he is going to avoid from embarrassing the Roman god, he must tear the veil of pretence that covers the ugly features of this new policy and hails it as being humanitarian by arguing fatuously and emotionally that it will save lives by preventing boat people from drowning. Indeed, he will save them from drowning at sea but only by drowning them on dry land, in the socially cesspool of Papua New Guinea. Thus, his ‘humanitarianism’ will be swallowed in the whirlpool of his own hard line policy. Mockingly, he himself has already admitted that his new policy on illegal migrants has all the hard features of a porcupine—to use a metaphor. And the reason he has adopted this porcupine is, other than winning votes, to prevent boat people coming to Australia.

In his by now double replication of “me-tooism”of John Howard—the first time he professed to be willing to imitate Howard, as dyed in the wool conservative, in economic policy, this time he is doing it on border protection—he is out-distancing the latter in his hard line, like a galloping horse running next to a mule. And if he doesn’t lose his balance riding this winning stallion over the rough ground of politics, which so many times before enfeebled his policies by making them captive to populism, he will triumphantly pass the winning post and stop the boats.

I rest on my oars: your turn now