Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Rubicon Ahead!

Rubicon Ahead!

A week used to be a long time in politics but one day is all it took for an unelected bunch of authoritarians to close down one of the most popular new-media commentators out there, Alex Jones. This is the most significant political development since Trump was elected as it calls into question our power to protect freedom of speech, one of the absolute pillars of the free state.

Do we want China/Google/Apple etc deciding on our “access levels”, or do we trust free people to winnow out the good from the bad? Under the US Constitution’s First Amendment, Congress does not have the right to abridge freedom of speech – but it seems a bunch of unrepresentative nerds in Silicon Valley think they do. Whilst they have no legal monopoly on new-media channels, they have an almost complete practical lock-hold on them.

Apparently, Zuckerberg himself made the final decision to cut Jones off from Facebook, a clear example of the regal power these individuals now seek to wield. Unelected yet extremely powerful, they are a real threat to our liberties and need treated as such.

The fog is clearing and even utopians suffering from their usual myopia must be able to see the shape of things to come. Looming out of the mists is a bleak-looking place, previously heavily cloaked behind the obfuscation used by the deep-staters to conceal their control of the power and the money.

This moment brings to mind Caesar allegedly muttering “the die is cast”, when in contravention of his order to return to Rome alone he waded with his Legion across the Rubicon which marked the border of Italy. Thus began the Civil War which he would win to initiate a four-century long dictatorship, transforming the Republic into a family business, an Empire.

Crossing a small river demonstrated the future dictator’s intent, and our bunch of immature odd-balls with their strange social skills (see Zuckerberg drinking water in the Senate hearings) are launching an inane assault, demonstrating why they are congenitally unsuited to being the arbitrators of public policy.

They have certainly not learned the lessons from Milton’s Areopagitica which covered all the usual arguments nearly four centuries ago. The elite would describe themselves as reasonable but they must think we are not, for as Milton argued, all individuals should have open access to information on which to base their decisions, that they must have “freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing”.

Now these near-monopolists, whose only “genius” is often to buy up their competitors so that they can retain all their markets’ revenue and power, are obviously coordinating their counter-productive attempt to strong-arm Infowars out of business. They are unwise, and their actions have made Jones leap to even greater prominence while also hardening opposition to this self-referential elite.

They bring to mind how kings centralised power in the old tribal communities and took control of their newly minted “subjects”. We’ve seen this before and we don’t need to go through it again.  Time to flick the switch, to cross our Rubicon but go the other way, taking out the dictator and his supporters.

How to fight back? Peacefully, of course, by protesting on the streets and never stopping until Trump can implement his reforms, Brexit is that stated at the time of the Referendum and the Silicon Valley guys and gals global tax “avoidance” shenanigans are openly reviewed by even better lawyers than they can afford.

We all need to make clear to the politicians that universal suffrage came long after we earned our fundamental rights. Many in the UK are, I am sure, already on a proxy-war footing as regards our incredible hate speech laws. These appear to allow anyone, including some Scottish police employee to decide they are insulted on behalf of others and can then attempt to see a comedian incarcerated for “hurt feelings” over a humorous video. No threat, real or implied, of violence needed.

Voting does not trump rights, which are basically being re-defined on-the-go as a result of the hate-speech blizzard fanned by the hard left. These numpties would be Communist Party members today if their predecessors had not lost the argument back in the 80s, managing a niggardly 0.1% of the vote. Now they have morphed into Momentum and sling the weaponised words of racist, hater, fascist and far-right to slander anyone engaging them in argument.

We live in a democracy which can never be perfect as we are all very imperfect human beings. However, there will always be those who believe they have found the grail, seen the light and have the duty to issue those who pass muster with Certificates of Correct Thinking – at first, they only wish to cut off your right to speak but as we push back they generally move onto your head.

The base of our democracy was not built on votes but was set firmly on rights earned and enacted in law, long before universal suffrage had been gained. That base is now under attack, and no legislator, company or individual business owner has any right to undermine it, let destroy it. That way lies blood.

So, we fight for our rights or our wee experiment in democracy is over and we can be enslaved again – and we would deserve to be. That is why we must fight now as elections mean nothing if your right to sway them through argument had been stripped away when Zuckerberg crossed his Rubicon.

Never apologise, never explain and never surrender.

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Is a second referendum on Brexit possible? Seven questions that need to be answered

Two years on from the Brexit vote, the benefits of a second referendum are being hotly debated. In this post, UCL’s Jess Sargeant, Alan Renwick and Meg Russell identify seven questions that should be considered before parliament decides whether a second Brexit referendum…

The Democracy Delusion

The Democracy Delusion

Winston Churchill once remarked, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried….”

Churchill’s famous comment reflected the simple truth that whilst the variant forms of democracy may contain commendable attributes and aspirations, they are also the source of a multiplicity of weaknesses and imperfections. In addition, they have been shown to be easy prey to manipulation and unscrupulous betrayal.

I assume that Churchill was primarily thinking of the ‘representative democracy’ system that we have operating in the United Kingdom. The one under which many of us grew up innocently expecting, or at least hoping, that the broad wishes of the majority of the people would be respected and delivered; that the essence and heart of the nation would be carefully preserved.

The perfidy of the political deceits of the last seven decades have proved that to be an empty hope. Any trust that the electorate placed, perhaps naively, in charlatan career politicians, who call themselves ‘honourable‘, was dissipated and lost long ago.

In its place, we are left to view the hideous scars of the disfiguring social and cultural vandalism that has been visited upon our nation. Not only have the culprits escaped punishment, many have received honours when they deserved ignominy, and have prospered when they deserved scorn and retribution.

In the light of that, following the EU referendum result, I suppose it cannot have come as a surprise for us to find that a very large proportion of our political representatives do not believe in democracy of any sort at all.

It has also become abundantly clear that the political classes appear to be fully supported in this disgraceful dereliction of duty by large sections of the civil service, the establishment and, to their undying shame, a substantive element of the judiciary.

I have listened to the extensive Brexit debates in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords. In turn, I have been annoyed by the obvious general ignorance of many participants; angered by the empty-headed displacement of intellectual logic by blunt political prejudice; and infuriated by the scandalous, often secretive, self-interest of so many of our political representatives.

I wonder, have the conclusions of the Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau proved to be true? He argued that representative democracy is not democracy at all, but an elective aristocracy; that it is not the people, but the people’s representatives, who decide what will be the law.

Is it the reality then, that our much-vaunted ‘British democracy’ is, in fact, a delusion?

Have our political representatives formed an oligarchy; a grand hierarchy of powerful figures who see it as their right to rule over the masses? Or is there a plutocracy of the wealthy, many of whom don’t even live here, but can manipulate ‘events’? Or is it a mixture of both?

Democracy can be defined as ‘the form of government in which the sovereign power is in the hands of the people’. If the sovereign power is ever removed from the people, by whatever means, then it is, by definition, no longer a democracy.

The people can ‘lend’ their sovereign power to elected representatives in parliament for short periods of time for government. But ownership of the sovereignty does not pass. It is never Parliament’s to give away. It never, under any circumstances, belongs to them.

Populism, a close kin to democracy, can be defined as ‘a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite’. Accordingly, a ‘populist’ is someone who actively supports the interests, concerns, and aspirations of the ordinary people

I would suggest that the words of American President Abraham Lincoln in his famous 1863 Gettysburg address, speaking of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” sound essentially populist.

Indeed, the close identification of their Greek and Latin origins would suggest that the words democracy and populism mean exactly the same thing; that the will of the majority of the people is paramount. But, if that’s the case, then why do the political classes pay unreliable lip-service to the former whilst arrogantly denigrating and sneering at the latter?

In my opinion, the answer is that, being fully paid-up apparatchiks of the current system, they feel in control of the levers of power in our current non-democracy. Populism presents a threat to that.

When the vast majority of the population couldn’t read or write, possibly not as long ago as you might think, then representative democracy may have been seen to be a sensible proposition. But times have changed.

Unfortunately, from the uneducated conceit of their public comments since the referendum, it would seem that many of our political representatives, particularly in the House of Lords, hold the opinion that the general public still can’t read or write. They also appear blissfully unaware of the multiplicity of alternative sources of information available today to the electorate that they hold in such contempt. They have much to learn.

Many associate democracy with freedom. Occasionally one hears the hopeful cry “we live in a free democracy”. But if UK democracy is a failed democracy, then it is neither democratic nor free.

When the LibLabCons coalesced into a single political grouping they destroyed political choice. They also effectively disenfranchised anyone who chose not to vote for the one beacon of light that was UKIP.

But even within UKIP there was a centrist cabal who, if they had achieved their aims, would have extinguished the option of even that sole alternative hope. Fortunately, they have failed. UKIP has not only survived but grown stronger. The fight for freedom, free speech, independence and political choice goes on.

Now, if the great Winston struggled to improve on representative democracy, then I’m certainly not going to pretend that I can. But maybe the cautious and careful introduction of some elements of direct democracy, proportional representation, and written constitutional limitations on the unauthorized power of the ‘political aristocracy’, might better reflect the changed times.

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