Democracy, The Most Dangerous Religion
10. Chapter 10 – Myths of Democracy
By Larry Romanoff
10.1. The People are in Charge
10.2. In a Democracy, the People Choose . . .
10.2. Checks and Balances
10.3. The Legitimacy of Government
10.4. The Myth of Democratic Accountability
10.5. The Public be Damned
10.6. “Democracy” is a Child’s Fairy Tale
10.7. “Democracy” is a Child’s Fairy Tale
10.1. The People are in Charge
Alexander Tytler wrote that all governments are essentially a monarchy, and indeed there is no lack of quotations available from elected officials stating in one form or another the conviction that they were “elected to rule”. Nor is there any lack of evidence that their behavior corresponds well to this hypothesis, it being a common expression that ‘democracies are essentially four-year dictatorships’. Tytler assessed democracies very clearly when he wrote that:
“The people flatter themselves that they have the sovereign power. These are, in fact, words without meaning. It is true they elected governors, but how are these elections brought about? In every instance of election by the mass of a people through the influence of those governors themselves, and by means the most opposite to a free and disinterested choice. But those governors once selected, where is the boasted freedom of the people? They must submit to their rule and control, with the same abandonment of their natural liberty, the freedom of their will, and the command of their actions, as if they were under the rule of a monarch [or a dictator]“.
He is of course recognising that once the people cast their vote, they have in fact elected a sovereign with absolute authority over them. No one can claim the freedom to ignore Congress or the laws, the IRS, the police, or any other institution. “The people”, in fact, have no power at all after an election, neither with the elected governors nor their actions. The people are, in fact and in reality, living in a dictatorship in all senses of the meaning of this word. “Government by the people” is a jingoistic nonsense that is so obviously foolish as to deserve only ridicule.
If you are an American, and you are in charge, why are you giving yourself body cavity searches at airports? If Americans are in charge, why are they spying on themselves, recording every one of their own communications? Why are they financing all that military hardware and training their own police to brutalise them? If the people are in charge, why would they choose to deny themselves a universal health care plan? Is it the 40% of working-age Americans who have no job, who are voting to eliminate their own unemployment benefits? Is it the 35% of Americans living below the poverty line and dependent on food stamps to live, who are voting to eliminate those same food stamps and starve themselves to death?
Why did Americans decide to lose 50% of their net worth in 2008, and donate it to members of Congress, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and the owners of the FED? If Americans are in charge, why did they choose to have tens of millions of their countrymen become homeless, consigning families with children to sleep in the sewers of Las Vegas? Why did ‘the people’ decide to spend $7.7 trillion to bail out the banks instead of bailing out themselves and recovering their homes? If the people are governing, why did they have the police beat them to death during their Occupy Wall Street protests?
10.2. In a Democracy, the People Choose . . .
One of the greatest delusions in “democracy” is of references to the ability to vote out disfavored politicians. But the people have no such power or ability since they do not control the nominations and will be presented only with choices to which the secret government is quite indifferent. Tytler recognised that the political parties – his ‘governors’ – control the selection and nomination of candidates, thereby eliminating both freedom and disinterested choice.
If I control the selection and nomination of candidates, elections are a waste of time and money and your vote is irrelevant since I select and present for your ‘choosing’ two candidates who are equally within my influence and control. It is of no consequence to me how you vote, since both candidates will do my bidding during their term. And I am not much concerned with their general behavior during their term, provided they initiate the legislation I have demanded, and vote appropriately for its passage. Partisan political disagreements are permitted, but only in areas of irrelevancy. It is all a kind of stage play, with me behind the scenes directing the action. In any democracy, voters do not select the candidates, nor do they choose or nominate anyone – the Parties do that. Voters are then offered an after-the-fact opportunity to rubber-stamp one of two clones. Government “of the people, by the people and for the people” is pure fiction and has never existed anywhere.
Dylan Ratigan, a best-selling US author, expressed it perfectly when he wrote, “Power, whether in an electoral system or a corporate boardroom, originates with the people who control the nomination of candidates, not with those who “vote” after this process is complete”. Those who nominate, dictate. This cannot change unless the parties themselves are eliminated, and that will never happen. The small elite groups who control the political parties from the shadows are far more powerful than the people, and they will never relinquish control.
10.3. Checks and Balances
Every aspect of the concept of democracy that exists in the American mind is equally fallacious, one example being the common claim of the virtue of ‘checks and balances’ which is yet another utopian delusion scarcely requiring the effort of proof. When Bill Clinton obeyed his handlers and removed all the financial restraints on the bankers that led to repeated devastating economic crises, including 2008, where were the ‘checks’? When the Bush regime told its 1,000 lies to convince the American public of the “necessity” of destroying Iraq, where were the checks? Where were the checks that prevented Madeline Albright from killing half a million children in Iraq?
Americans argue their two political parties provide a check on each other, but their actions constitute ideological obstruction rather than ‘checks’ which might be considered responsible or sane. In these and hundreds of other examples I could list, there are no checks whatever. The entire concept of checks and balances in Western democracies is just a jingoistic delusion created by extensive propaganda instilled in ignorant and stillborn minds.
10.4. The Legitimacy of Government
The US is the only nation in the world that infernally meddles in the internal affairs of other nations to the extent of arrogantly presuming to judge and classify their governments according to the peculiarly American definitions of “legitimacy”. One of the more pervasive American propaganda claims is that their multi-party electoral system is the only morally legitimate kind of government because “power flows from the people”. That’s an obvious lie, but let’s look further behind the claims.
Iran once had a well-functioning democracy led by Mossadegh, a man dearly loved by his people, and there would have been no basis on which to dispute the legitimacy of this government. Frightened when Iran planned to nationalise its oil industry, the US sent in the CIA to destabilise the country and overthrow the government, after which the Americans and the Jewish bankers in the City of London installed Shah Reza Pahlavi, one of modern history’s most savage dictators but recognised for decades by the Americans as the “fully legitimate” government of Iran. When the Iranian people finally arose in a national revolution against this foreign-sponsored tyrant, re-took control of their nation and reinstituted their former electoral government, the US refused to recognise it as legitimate and has spent decades trying to destabilise and overthrow it again.
In past decades, the US has similarly destabilised and overthrown governments in about 50 countries, in each case installing brutal military dictatorships that terrorised and massacred their own populations, and in each case proclaiming these dictatorships as the “fully legitimate governments” of these nations. Is it necessary to point out that in none of these cases was there any power “flowing from the people”? American hypocrisy at its finest.
The US hijacked Hawaii and Puerto Rico and Panama, and imposed foreign governments on those nations. These governments are not legitimate by any standard, though the Americans naturally recognise them as such. You have read of the recent colonisation of Iraq and the totally foreign-controlled regime that was installed, under the power of the Khazar Jewish bankers in the City of London, and maintained by the permanent US military presence. There is no definition of ‘legitimate’ which could be used to describe Iraq’s government, and there certainly is no power flowing from the people who bitterly hate the Americans but have no power to force them to leave.
We haven’t many kingdoms left, but where does Prince Rainier of Monaco derive his power? Certainly not from the people, but on what basis can we claim he is an illegitimate ruler? Monaco, and indeed every country, has the right to whatever government system it wants. The US recognises the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but where does the Saudi ruling family derive its power and legitimacy? Certainly not from the people.
American interference in the political elections of other nations is becoming legendary, with massive efforts coordinated by the State Department and the CIA to influence the results and produce a pro-US winner who will permit unregulated plundering of his nation. As mentioned elsewhere, the US will spend more money per capita to get their favored candidate elected in foreign countries than is spent by the candidates themselves. Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Venezuela, South Korea, Canada, most European nations and many more countries have been the targets of such US interference. The Americans also interfere heavily in China, especially in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In each case, if the American-favored candidate wins, then the US praises the government as “legitimate”, but if the anti-American candidate wins, the US mounts a massive international media campaign condemning the election as fraudulent and the resulting government as illegitimate.
How are Western democracies considered ‘legitimate’ when they seldom if ever represent even half of their populations? One of Canada’s recent governments was chosen by only 25% of its people, France’s President by only 20%. The last few US Presidents have been elected by only 25% of the population. This result isn’t unusual in Western democracies; we often see voter turnout of only 30% to 40%, meaning if one party collects all the votes it still disenfranchises two-thirds of the population. On what basis can any of these governments or leaders be considered “legitimate” when they are opposed by 75% or 80% of the population? According to a PEW Research poll at the time, the Obama administration and Congress had the support of less than 10% of all Americans. With such a small level of public support, how can the US President or Congress pretend to be the “legitimate government of all Americans” and to claim their power ‘flows from the people’? If American power were to flow from the people, the entire US government would evaporate in a revolution, replaced by something the people really did want.
Americans also make the claim that theirs is only legitimate government form because elected officials are chosen in a majority vote, but this is prima facie nonsense. There is no rational philosophical principle substantiating the thesis that popular opinion is even correct, much less morally sound or theologically legitimate. Majority support does not make a leader legitimate any more than it made slavery legitimate. In the US, as in no other Western nation, does so little power “flow from the people”. As well, in no other nation does there exist the monumental divergence between what the politicians and military do and what the people believe they do. These two factors lead only to the conclusion that the US government is the least legitimate of all Western governments, and of most others in the world as well.
The Americans attempt to disparage China by challenging the legitimacy of the nation’s government, in spite of the fact that it consistently has the overt support of 90% or more of the population – compared to only 10% in America. It should be clear these challenges derive from neither rationality nor philosophy, but from a puerile hypocrisy. Americans define legitimacy in any way that supports their political objectives and permits a pretense to moral superiority. We needn’t go so far as to attempt a concoction of measures that would qualify a government as legitimate. We need only demonstrate that the American measures are dishonest and insincere political double-talk. No nation has any obligation to recognise the US in its role as self-appointed arbiter of legitimacy and, given the extent of the Americans’ continuing hypocrisy, there is little point in pursuing this debate. In any case, China’s government is what it is, and is not planning on going away anytime soon.
10.5. The Myth of Democratic Accountability
One of the most widespread and stubbornly pervasive myths told about Western multi-party democracy is that the elected officials are accountable to the people. It is truly a tribute to the power of propaganda that most Westerners appear to mindlessly accept what is one of the greatest – and most obvious – lies in history – that elected officials in any way report to the people.
“The public will pass judgment on each of them. The people who started the Iraq war have paid and will pay a political price.” This is incredible, from the mind of an American adult.
The public will pass judgment. And how will that happen? Well, some politicians will pay “a political price”. The US White House and Congress concocted and promulgated nearly 1,000 enormous lies to justify the invasion and destruction of an innocent country, killing perhaps a million civilians – most of whom were women and children – while formally establishing the most evil torture regime in history. The nameless people in the City of London who incited the war and derived all the benefit from it will remain unnamed and immune, but a few of their lieutenants who permitted the execution of this travesty might not be re-elected. And that’s “accountability”.
With the 2008 financial collapse, the US government conspired with foreign bankers to perpetrate what was surely one of the greatest and most fraudulent thefts in history, and all members of both groups remained in power and were handsomely rewarded for their crimes while fully half of the nation’s middle class evaporated into the lower class and is now living on food stamps. The accountability is where?
Democratic theory tells us that “we, the people” choose someone to represent us, but still retain full control over those we select and over their actions. We are filled with the knowledge that these elected representatives are accountable to us and that we can replace them at any time. WE are in charge. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are electing not a representative, but a master, and any control we may have had was dissipated with the casting of our vote.
How many times has a politician been elected on a promise to not raise taxes, then upon being elected immediately raised the taxes? And what can the people do? Absolutely nothing; there is no recourse, in any democracy. Perhaps in theory the people get these unwanted tax laws repealed, but that can be accomplished only through the same elected representatives. “The People” cannot repeal or pass laws on their own account. To effect a repeal would require an overwhelming national outrage which the politicians would fear to ignore, but this is unlikely, and in practice the public is insufficiently organised to accomplish anything useful. People can (and do) protest in the streets, but to no avail. Look at the massive “Occupy Wall Street” protests in the US, and similar violent protests in the UK. The governments and local police soon forcibly dispersed the demonstrators, arresting the leaders, and the movement died.
In Western democracies, except for serious criminal acts, elected officials are in practice personally immune from judgment or sanction. The population at large has no legislative or other authority over those they elected. It is in practice almost impossible for any elected representative to be held accountable, even for the utmost bad faith or corruption. In every so-called democracy, the elected politicians lie, mislead, bankrupt the people, trash the economy, engage in unjustified wars for their own ego, cancel social security benefits, and give huge tax breaks to the rich while bleeding the middle class. They violate rights, spy on their public, and perpetrate every kind of dark deed while enriching themselves from their corporate sponsors. It is not for nothing that George Bush Sr. said, “If the people knew what we were doing, they would hang us in the streets.”
And We, The People, having lost our jobs, our homes, our investments, our sons in the wars, can do no more than look miffed and say, “Well! I sure won’t vote for you next time.” What a stunning tribute to the power of propaganda and brainwashing that “We, The People” so firmly believe we are in charge.
What does it mean, to be “accountable”? First, there is seldom such a thing as being generally accountable. Accountability means accepting personal responsibility for your actions or inaction. It means answering to your peers or superiors for serious mistakes, for incompetence, for acting in bad faith, for malfeasance or corruption. There is no personal responsibility in any Western democracy and, without personal responsibility, there is no accountability.
To elect a different person the next time, is NOT the same as holding a government official personally accountable for creating a financial or human disaster through incompetence or ignorance. Replacing the party in power for one term is NOT the same thing as holding each member of the previous party personally accountable for their mismanagement. These do not, in any sense, constitute accountability to the people. In Western democracies, elected representatives are accountable to no one.
What does “accountability” look like in the real world? You hire an accounting manager for your manufacturing firm, then later discover $150,000 is missing from the accounts. You fire this man, file a statement of claim for the missing money, call the police to charge him with theft, and nod approvingly when he receives a 3-year prison sentence and the Accounting Institute cancels his certification so he can no longer obtain employment in that field. That’s accountability. But in the politics of a democracy, your one and only response can be to say, “I’ll hire someone else next time.” That’s NOT accountability. It’s nothing.
Accountability is George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Madeleine Albright, Obama and both Clintons being tried and hung as war criminals. Accountability is Congressmen and Senators being forced to individually justify their failure to stop the unconscionable Iraq war when the lies became obvious. It would mean criminal indictments and a lifetime prohibition from government for all members of the US Congress who participated in, or didn’t act to stop, Guantanamo Bay and all the other US torture prisons around the world.
Accountability is the President and entire US Congress being forced to individually justify to the people – and to the law courts – why their primary loyalty is sworn to Israel and the Jews instead of to their own nation. Accountability is convictions for treason and invoking the death penalty. Accountability is jail terms, huge fines, and a lifetime prohibition from government for those politicians who voted to trash the banking act and permit the bankers to render much of the population homeless. Accountability would be the nationalisation of all the banks responsible for the malfeasance of the US housing disaster, the seizure of all banking bonuses from those who received them, and billions of dollars in fines and life sentences in prison for the perpetrators of it. It would mean the permanent dissolution of the FED and lifetime prison sentences for its directors and owners. But in Western political systems, virtually all responsibility is collective and shared, and a party is blamed rather than the individual elected member. And without personal responsibility, there is no responsibility at all. And in any case, the only persons with the power to execute this ‘accountability’ are the same politicians who need to be held accountable, so we can kiss this one good-bye.
And besides, how can you sanction someone for incompetence or acting in bad faith when you hired him knowing he had no qualifications and no accountability to you? YOU are the one who voted for that incompetent and self-serving used-car salesman. YOU chose him. YOU hired him. If anyone should be held “accountable”, it should be you. It is 100% your fault that an incompetent person was placed in that position of responsibility and created a disaster. It’s YOU who should be hung, not him. But since no credentials are required for candidacy or election in a democracy, since there are no prerequisites of education, knowledge or experience, or even trustworthiness, for even the highest government positions, on what basis can voters presume to punish incompetence?
We cannot hold someone accountable for failing in their job unless we understand that job. If a patient dies after a hospital operation, how do you know if that was an unpreventable occurrence or if the physician made a mistake? You cannot. You are not competent to judge because you are not a professional in that field. You can hire a medical specialist for a professional opinion, but who do you hire in your “democracy”, to give you that professional second opinion when your politicians screw up? The entire concept of “democratic accountability” is a myth.
10.6. The Public be Damned
More than this, referendums (a national vote on a particular important issue), which were the one remaining guarantee of true ‘government by the people’, at least on selected issues, are now generally forbidden – certainly Canada and the US have made this position clear. The reason is that these politicians are primarily interested in following their own ideology and agenda, and have no intention of permitting ‘the people’ to interfere. Sometimes, as in the case of optional wars – and all wars are optional – since it is the people who will do all the dying and paying, perhaps they should also do the deciding. If George W. Bush had called a referendum on Iraq, do you think the US would have gone to war? Not likely, but Bush wanted the war, so he just proceeded without asking. The people be damned.
To anyone who follows the news, it cannot be much of a secret that the US has had 50 military bases on Okinawa for a great many years, much to the bitterness and chagrin of the Japanese who live there and claim their lives are being destroyed by the US military. The entire population of Okinawa, and much of the population of Japan itself, are violently opposed to these bases, especially the one at Futenma. Protests are constant and widespread. Nobody wants the bases there – except the US. More than one Japanese President has taken office on the promise to rid Okinawa of these US bases, only to find himself quietly replaced by someone more pliable to US interests. The public be damned. The US wanted to install military missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic where more than 80% of all citizens were firmly and vocally against them. Did the governments call a referendum to consult the public on such a serious matter? Of course not. The public be damned. When virtually an entire nation is in favor of something – or against something, doesn’t “democracy” dictate that the will of the people is obeyed? Well, not where the US is concerned, it doesn’t.
10.7. “Democracy” is a Child’s Fairy Tale
“Government by the People” is a fantasy. It has never existed anywhere and it most certainly does not exist today. Democracy, in all its supposed glory, is a myth, a fairy tale for the simple-minded.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
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