or: The illusion of choice
Most of the people in the western hemisphere of this planet have been indoctrinated into believing that democracy is the holy grail of government systems and social organization. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Definition of democracy
As would be expected, the exact definition of democracy is a matter of perspective. Many argue that Western democracies are not really democracies. They argue that democracy has simply become corrupted, brought about through corporate lobbying, relentless propaganda, greed, nepotism, etc — but that it is fundamentally a benign system of organization in Human society. The typical definition is this:
- a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
- government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
Who are the "eligible members of a state"? Who granted them such status? What exactly is "supreme power"? What exactly constitutes a "free electoral system"? The dictionary definitions are nebulous by necessity, as the concept of democracy falls apart when scrutinized.
Etymologically, democracy is supposed to mean "people rule" (from Greek δῆμος dêmos meaning "people" and κράτος krátos meaning "power" or "rule"), but the more real connotation is "people ruled". The observation that "people are ruled" in a democracy is more obvious than the idea that "people are ruling" by means of having some degree of ability to influence the doings of the "democratic government" that supposedly represents the interests of the people.
The principal idea behind democracy is the act of voting, so let's first observe what voting actually means:
Voting Is An Act of Violence
Voting is the most violent act someone can commit in their lifetime.
This little noted anomaly about voting is directly related to the modern conception of the State as an entity deriving its grant of authority to act from the consent of the governed. The aura of legitimacy surrounding the government's actions is enhanced by the perceived role of voting as an expression of the "people's will." Whether non-threatening or violent, the authority for each and every one of the government's actions is presumed to flow from the consent of the people through the electoral process. School children are told this from their earliest years.
The idea that one can delegate rights that oneself does not have to a group of people is a superstition: the most dangerous superstition. No one has the right to initiate violence, therefore no group of people, no matter how large, can delegate the right to initiate violence to any group of people, regardless of the grandiose rituals and euphemisms that may be used to create the illusion of legitimacy.
Terence McKenna - History and modern education
Terence McKenna talking about history and his views on modern education.
What is the threshold that distinguishes "democratic" from "authoritarian" government systems?
As an example, in the USA 2012 presidential elections, some 200 Americans — 0.00006% of the population — "donated" more than 80% of Super PAC dollars. The question is then posed: Is it democracy or plutocracy when less than 200 people drive election spending in a nation of 310 million? The answer is that there is no difference between the two. It's a continuum. Plutocracy is simply a more advanced stage of democracy. Democracy is not merely corrupted or "broken", or even outdated. Democracy has never been what it is claimed to be by those who pretend to have the right to rule over others.
But before we deconstruct democracy itself, let's first clarify what the current "democratic" systems actually are.
Corruption within democratic systems of government
Assuming momentarily that democracy in its true, pure form really is what it is commonly believed to be, let's look at the current self-proclaimed "leader of the free world", American democracy.
Media selection of acceptable candidates
By far, the most significant factor in a modern democratic system, especially in the U.S., is the media. The voters do not even hear of the "3rd party" candidates, almost all of which are more genuine, more honest, more ethical human beings than the few rich airheads the media focuses on. Even very-mainstream critics like Michael Moore have pointed out the absurdity of the idea that only two candidates or parties are worth the voters' attention:
To think that two political parties could represent the broad spectrum of political thought of 310 million people is insane.
The media will also automatically cover-up, by means of not giving coverage to, the corrupt background and unethical or criminal deeds of the candidates they are hyping up. Examples include clear cases of such behavior by all presidential candidates of recent years (Bill Clinton, George Bush, Al Gore, John McCain, Mitt Romney), with the exception of Barack Obama (but only because he was too young and inexperienced to have committed any crimes yet, which he remedied as soon as he was placed in the oval office).
Bribery & PACs
Bribery in its common understanding as under-the-hood exchange of favors is seen as widespread in some "democratic" nations, such as Russia. Are they less common in America? Evidence would suggest not. The normalized term for overt bribery — in contrast to covert bribery — is "PAC contributions". Political action committee (PAC) is the "official" term for "political lobby", whose purpose is to bribe politicians. Put another way, PACs (corporate, foreign, and other private interests) give large donations (bribes) to politicians (scoundrels) in exchange for favors that are implicitly expected from them.
Since 2010, contributors don't even have to be registered as PACs and can instead operate as a "Super PAC", "officially" known as "independent-expenditure only committees", which "may not make contributions to candidate campaigns or parties, but may engage in unlimited political spending independently of the campaigns", and unlike traditional PACs, can "raise funds from individuals, corporations, unions, and other groups without any legal limit on donation size". Super-PACs were made possible (created) after a court case "held that PACs that did not make contributions to candidates, parties, or other PACs could accept unlimited contributions from individuals, unions, and corporations (both for profit and not-for-profit) for the purpose of making independent expenditures."
Fraud at every level of the process itself — the voting and the counting of votes — is particularly widespread and pervasive in the USA, as has been demonstrated time and again by various researchers and concerned citizens. The mainstream media, of course, completely ignores this, in the sense that it never becomes part of the "official" narrative, regardless of strength of evidence or the sparse disparate media reports by some of the more intrepid journalists exposing it.
Hacking Democracy - Full Length [HBO documentary]
Hacking Democracy is the 2006 documentary film broadcast on HBO and created by producer / directors Russell Michaels and Simon Ardizzone and producer Robert Carrillo Cohen and executive producers Sarah Teale & Sian Edwards. Filmed over three years it documents American citizens investigating anomalies and irregularities with 'e-voting' (electronic voting) systems that occurred during the 2000 and 2004 elections in the U.S.A., especially in Volusia County, Florida. The film investigates the flawed integrity of electronic voting machines, particularly those made by Diebold Election Systems, exposing previously unknown backdoors in the Diebold trade secret computer software. The film culminates dramatically in the on-camera hacking of the in-use / working Diebold election system in Leon County, Florida - the same computer voting system which has been used in actual American elections across thirty-three states.
In 2008, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner commissioned Project EVEREST, which "examined in detail the touch-screen, optical scan, and election management technology from e-voting vendors ES&S, Hart InterCivic, and Premier Election Systems (formerly Diebold)." The project's team's findings "included the discovery of exploitable security vulnerabilities in almost every hardware and software component of the ES&S touch-screen and optical scan systems."
It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
Who would be more trustworthy: people counting votes based on a paper trail who (to some degree) fear accountability, or closed-source proprietary software systems? Even before modern computer systems, as far back as 1968, FBI agent Dan Smoot observed the problem with computerized voting systems (while operating under the premise that "elections" themselves are genuine).
gerrymander [JER-i-MAN-duhr] (verb tr.):
- To repartition an area in order to create electoral districts that give an unfair advantage to a political party.
Another minor layer of fraud is the idea of averaging votes by districts rather than counting each individual vote as a single vote, i.e. assigning different values to the votes of different people while still upholding the notion of equality and the "will of the people". C.G.P. Grey visually explains gerrymandering:
The Electoral College
In the supposed biggest democracy in the world, the people don't even vote directly. Instead, they ask their "state" to please vote for who they want, but the "state" has no such obligation:
How the Electoral College Works
If the winner of the election is not considered "acceptable" (think Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, or even Ron Paul) by the mainstream, the ("non-partisan", of course) electors (veteran politicians) of the Electoral College can choose whosoever they want (or are pressured to choose). This has happened in 3 presidential elections (1876, 1888, 2000), which is 5% of the time.
In the other 95% of the cases, the difference between the two evils was sufficiently small for the "electoral colleagues" to give the OK for the candidate that got the most tallied up votes (after the various types of vote fraud, gerrymandering, etc).
But even if we ignore all this and pretend for a moment that American democracy is "genuine in function" despite the corruption, what are the parameters of the choices?
Has democracy ever been genuine?
One is quickly disabused of this notion by simply examining the origins of democracy. Every American knows that slavery was an accepted and widely practiced reality when the "republic" (a euphemism for statist domination) was founded, yet this fact somehow doesn't influence the idea that "restoring the republic" as it was established in 1776 is somehow a good idea. The birthplace of democracy, ancient Athens, was likewise dominated by brute "alpha" males who did not see it fit to allow women or old people to vote... much less the 1/3 of the population who were — you guessed it — slaves. The understanding that the "Founding Fathers" had of "liberty" had nothing to do with real freedom, but with freedom from foreign authoritarian domination — the same mentality behind Athenian "democracy" and all other violence-based systems of control commonly called "governments".
Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.
Plato was defining "liberty" in the same way as the "Founding Fathers", equating it with minarchy (an "as small as possible" "limited" "government"), as if the idea of "government" were axiomatic — a natural aspect of human beings. Now that, over 200 years later, the "United States" of America is acceleratingly turning into "the most aggravated form of tyranny", and continues to further transform into the largest empire in "history", Plato's observation is proven correct again.
The problem is not and has never been who's on the throne. The problem is, and has always been, and will always be until people wake up, that there is a throne there to be on. And, as long as the argument is what government should do, who should run it, [or] what form it should take, you're just tinkering with the details and completely ignoring the heart of the problem — which is the belief in government, and authoritarianism. So any activism that doesn't hit at that belief, that doesn't strike at that root, is worse than worthless. Not only does it treat symptoms that aren't gonna change anyway, but it actually reinforces in the minds of all the listeners and viewers, that that heart cannot be touched, that of course we need government.
Democracy, like all other forms of "government", is and always has been a (clever as it may be) way for the
ruling parasitic class to make tools out of humans. The cleverness of democracy is that, by means of the illusion of choice, the human livestock take care of themselves and believe they are free while still completely submitting their will to perceived "authority" figures — which still happens under the threat of violence, only more subtly because there will be "warnings" before violence is initiated.
Governments don't want a population capable of critical thinking; they want obedient workers, people just smart enough to run the machines and just dumb enough to passively accept their situation.
Providing food, shelter, healthcare, etc, for chained slaves is costly, difficult, time-consuming, and risky, because the chained slave is very aware of his shackles. Release the shackles and give the slaves an illusion of power by giving them an illusion of choice, and the slaves will believe that they are free:
The Jones Plantation
One cannot change reality by changing the words you use to describe reality. Look beneath the rhetoric, and glimpse the truth.
Slavery is primarily not about physical shackles but about mental shackles. Mind control is about reducing and eliminating the perception of possibilities, thus making the subject comply by default — physical shackles or not.
The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take.
And so we are fooled into believing that voting is important — deciding between one rich psychopath or another to rule over us.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Democracy as a form of slavery
Democracy could be seen as slavery 2.0, simply a more clever form of slavery, in which the energy produced by the slave's work is, via abstraction, converted to money. In other words, we never abolished slavery; we only abolished the label by transforming it.
The Story of Your Enslavement
We can only be kept in the cages we do not see. A brief history of human enslavement - up to and including your own.
As Stefan Molyneux eloquently explains and illustrates, the human livestock, once freed from their shackles, know nothing else than to continue to bow to their masters, for they have never known anything else. They will willingly obey the rules of the game created by their masters. They will provide for themselves (food, shelter, etc) and give part of the fruit of their labor to their masters, while completely and entirely believing that they are free human beings.
Shackles are an always-present reminder of the slave's condition, as bars are to the imprisoned. The real prison and shackles, however, exist only in the mind.
Most big "authoritarian" "states" that are unquestionably considered dictatorships called themselves "democratic" (or the similar idea of "representative republic"), and have the idea reflected in the name they gave to the country they ruled. Some notable examples are:
- Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, the Soviet Union, which also had "democratic elections" amidst purges of millions of people, leaving a death toll of over 45 million)
- People's Republic of China (Mao's communist China, which left a death toll of over 60 million people)
- Democratic Kampuchea (Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, which decimated about 25-30% of the people of Cambodia in only 5 years)
- Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea, the last Stalinist regime)
Combined, the mind-controlled order-followers of these perceived "government" "authority" figures murdered over 100,000,000 of their fellow human beings in less than a century. That's thousands of people per day.
However, as Josie the Outlaw points out in the following video, "democratically elected governments have committed more murder than any other institution in the history of the world":
The End of Oppression - Part 2: The Game
[Published on Jul 31, 2014] "The End of Oppression" is a six-part series of videos which show what it will take for humanity to finally outgrow and escape its long history of violence and oppression.
Part Two ("The Game") shows how tyrants use the game called "politics" to legitimize violent domination and to deceive decent people into advocating their own subjugation and enslavement.
(If you like this video, check out www.josietheoutlaw.com, follow Josie on Twitter at @JosietheOutlaw1, on Instagram at @josiewalesoutlaw, and share with anyone and everyone YOU feel needs to hear this message.)
The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting.
Republic vs. democracy
Another layer of obfuscation is the (from the perspective of the understanding of individual sovereignty) almost meaningless distinction often made between the idea of a democracy and the idea of a constitutional republic, wherein the "supreme law of the land" is defined by a piece of paper or parchment, the parameters of which are not to be exceeded or overruled by a representative government, which thus is a lesser "authority" than the piece of paper.
Bashar sums up the difference:
A democracy is that which allows for an unlimited majority to rule, but absolutely provides no basis for the protection of individual and minority rights. A republic allows there to be a democratic process of voting, but through a constitution imposes controls on the majority to allow for individual and minority rights.
Or, as The Anarchist Library puts it:
What’s wrong with majority voting?
Many of us have been brought up in a culture which believes that the western-style system with one-person-one-vote and elected leaders is the supreme form of democracy. Yet in the very nations which shout loudest about the virtues of democracy, many people don’t even bother voting anymore, because they feel that it doesn’t make any difference to their lives.When people vote for an executive they also hand over their power to make decisions and to effect change. This goes hand in hand with creating a majority and a minority, with the minority often feeling deeply unhappy with the outcome.
It is true that majority voting enables even controversial decisions to be taken in a minimum amount of time, however there is nothing to say that this decision will be a wise one or morally acceptable. After all the majority of colonial Americans supported the ‘right’ to hold slaves. People in a majority rule system don’t need to listen to the dissenting minority, or take their opinion seriously because they can simply outvote them. Majority rule systems say that the majority is infallible and they have nothing to learn from the minority.
This creates a situation where there are winners and losers and promotes an aggressive culture and conflict, and lends itself to steam rolling an idea over a minority that dissents with the majority opinion. The will of the majority is seen as the will of the whole group, with the minority expected to accept and carry out the decision, even if against their most deeply held convictions and principles. A vivid example is the imprisonment of conscientious objectors against military service in democratic countries such as Germany.
As with "democratic" "states", there is also no shortage of examples of "constitutional republics" with a "bill of rights" that are also correctly regarded as cruel dictatorships. As Larken Rose points out, none of these murderous "leaders" were "elected" because they ran a political campaign on a platform of "let's kill a bunch of people":
What's So Bad About Nazis?
The question is not rhetorical. Too many people are really, really sure that there's something really bad about being a Nazi, or about being a communist, but they can't actually say WHAT is so bad, and can't even define or describe what those philosophies advocate, or why they are so dangerous.
What do glamorized leaders of "truly democratic" governments truly believe about democracy? Few spoke more honestly than Winston Churchill — at least when he was drunk (which, according to WWII researcher David Irving, was most of the time):
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
The forms of democracy described above are actually defined as "indirect democracies". If a democracy is not direct, is it really even a democracy?
Direct democracy (also known as pure democracy) is a form of democracy in which people decide (e.g. vote on, form consensus on) policy initiatives directly. This differs from the majority of modern Western-style democracies, which are indirect democracies.
One of the most demonized leaders that refused to play the imperialists' game was Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, whose government (or pre-existing centralized power structure and social infrastructure they "took control" over) created a direct democracy, which already by definition makes Venezuela under Chávez's Bolivarianism (known as Chavismo) more actually representative of the people it claims to represent — even if socialist and far less experienced and capable of managing state functions such as control of the economy than their imperialist/neoliberal/neocon counterparts.
Wikipedia's article about direct democracy also states:
Some writers with anarchist sympathies have said direct democracy is opposed to a strong central authority, as decision making power can reside at only one level – the people themselves (through direct democracy) or the central authority.
Writers with anarchist sympathies (i.e. understanding/overstanding/innerstanding) still note that direct democracy still implies authoritarian domination and enforcement of rules by means of violence, even if the "central authority" is less "strong" (demanding, dominating, violent) than in "indirect" (i.e. not quite even) democracies.
The case of Switzerland
The best example of a directly-democratic country that has leaders that to any significant degree actually represent the wishes of the people is in the heart of Europe. Switzerland has stayed out of the EU dictatorship (a USSR-style central planning bureaucracy designed with zero accountability in mind), even if it has made harmful agreements with the EU, and has avoided the war follies of their neighboring nations for centuries. In Switzerland, the people, not the government, decide when to hold referendums. The Swiss' economic situation is also far better than all the EU nations due to resisting joining the euro common currency.
Politicians and demagoguery
This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions. (December 2013)
A demagogue (from French "demagogue", derived in turn from the Greek "demos" = people/folk and the verb "ago" = carry/manipulate thus "people's manipulator") or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the lower socioeconomic classes in order to gain power and promote political motives. Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis; they accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness. Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, nothing stops the people from giving that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population.
Ochlocracy (Greek: ὀχλοκρατία, okhlokratía; Latin: ochlocratia) or mob rule is the rule of government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities. As a pejorative for majoritarianism, it is akin to the Latin phrase mobile vulgus meaning "the fickle crowd", from which the English term "mob" was originally derived in the 1680s.
Ochlocracy ("rule of the general populace") is democracy ("rule of the people") spoiled by demagoguery, "tyranny of the majority", and the rule of passion over reason, just as oligarchy ("rule of a few") is aristocracy ("rule of the best") spoiled by corruption, and tyranny is monarchy spoiled by lack of virtue. Ochlocracy is synonymous in meaning and usage to the modern, informal term "mobocracy", which emerged from a much more recent colloquial etymology.
Of course, "intimidation of legitimate authorities" really just means "overpowering of the existing ruling class", for there could not be such a thing as "legitimate authorities", because that is really a euphemism for the idea of a "legitimate monopoly on the initiation of violence".
The "rule of reason" is therefore not the rule of "legitimate authorities", but is simply called anarchy.
Democracy and oligarchy/plutocracy are continuums: democracy is beginning oligarchy; oligarchy is advanced democracy. Oligarchy may arise in other contexts, but there are scarce, if any, examples of democracies not expanding their sphere of influence and degree of control over their citizens over time, becoming thus more authoritarian and oligarchical.
Democracy seen higher-dimensionally
Bashar - Time to change your governments
... But you have given your power over to people and told them to run your lives. So why berate them when they're doing such a good job of doing what you told them to do? Tell them to do something different; tell other people, then, to take their place who will do different things. Empower people. The way you have structured your culture is based on fear. So your government is based on the same. That shouldn't surprise you. So, develop a culture of joy. Develop a culture of self-empowerment, and then you will find you will not really need anyone to tell you what to do.
Understand that disempowerment has existed in your culture in your planet for thousands upon thousands of years — this idea of self-disempowerment has been a theme of exploration for generations, and generations and eons — but you're arriving at the end of that exploration, and that's why you're even considering that there can be something different.