Friday, February 18, 2011

Democracy, an afterthought...

 Being a person who truly respects the Indian constitution , I strongly believed and still continues to believe in the concept of democracy. But, just like the communist utopia people have been criticizing, I tend to feel that there will only be democratic utopia (maybe its the perfectionist craving in me). Unless people within a country are made homogenous in certain vital aspects and also enlightened with respect to certain characterestics of modernization, real democracy can be quite elusive...... However that alone may not be enough and  some would ask the question- Is true democracy possible?

For instance, Is Switzerland a true democracy? A country where direct democracy and rule of law is strictly practiced, but its economy runs on the black money earned through flouting domestic laws of different other countries. The U.S case is more obvious, with its support to the most authoritarian governments(Mubarak for instance) and even invading  countries for its energy needs(Iraq and the WMD conspiracy).....
Further, the short speech of Alexander Tylor comes to my mind......
At about the time the original 13 US states adopted their new constitution in
1787, Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of
Edinborough, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some
2,000 years prior:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a
permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until
the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts
from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for
the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with
the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal
policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of
history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations
always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
Are we part of this grand cycle of change; unlike what Fukuyama says that there would be 'no alternative to democracy and capitalism' and that this would signify the 'end of history'...
Perhaps in this way, History never ends. . . and Democracy remains just an idea like the communist utopia.