So Obama was too scared to go to Paris (that’s the charitable explanation; the non-charitable theory is that he listens to dimwits too much). What when the self-declared leader of the Free, is a scared rabbit? Here is one drawback of Representative Democracy, “democracy” through “representatives”, or so-called “leaders”. Have you see a rabbit lead? When I run in the mountains, I see dozens of rabbits leading straight to the bushes (as in George W. Bush).
Not everybody can be as courageous as Israel’s Netanyahu (the only leader with
Franco-Germania Faces Hard Philosophy Ahead a personal guard in Paris, at his side always), Abbas (Palestinian president), Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Renzi (Italia), Rajoy (Espana), the Malian, Ukrainian presidents, and tens of other heads of state, who were also demonstrating in Paris. Even Russia sent to the Paris demonstration its fiercest specimen (short, maybe, of Putin), the Siberian hard man, Putin’s mentor, Ukrainian thirsty Foreign Minister Lavrov. Hopefully, Lavrov’s heart learned something.
The attack against Charlie Hebdo was, philosophically speaking, worst than 9/11: bin Laden was surprised that the towers fell, and 9/11 was construed by some hearts of stone, as a counter-attack against big capital, Wall Street, and the exploitative system of the Middle East financiers had helped to set-up.
But clearly the attack against satire is a direct attack against intelligence, and cannot be construed as an attack against exploiters (or an anti-racist attack: several collaborators of Charlie Hebdo were “Muslim”, two got assassinated, two survived). And the attack was planned by a collaboration of Al Qaeda and the Islamist State: the terrorists themselves said it. A video shot by one of the criminals AFTER killing a black policewoman, and grievously wounding others, was edited by ISIS, and put on the Internet two days later. From the Middle East.
The Security State cannot be avoided: as technology keeps exponentiating (a good thing), more and more lethal power can come in the hands of lunatics (a bad thing).
Thus the need to prevent mighty weapons to get in bad hands, and even very bad ideas to get installed in otherwise innocent minds. Hence the need for THOUGHT CONTROL (this means that Islam has to be put on rails which are defined by the Republic; it also means Internet control; some countries, such as the UK, already have it, France will get there within 6 weeks).
“Thought Control” is, of course, a very delicate problem: imagination, irreverence, satire have to be allowed, but not systems of thought leading to lethal issues.
Who is going to watch the watchers?
Well, We The People, directly.
Some of the commenters on this site rolled out the usual objection to Direct Democracy: the so-called “Madness Of The Crowds”.
Hazxan from the UK said: “Patrice, what really is “Democracy”? All my life, every day, it was programmed into me that we had a “democracy” that it was a rare and special thing that meant we lived in the best of possible worlds. Even that those who didn’t have this Democracy should be bombed and crushed until they had this Democracy whether they chose it or not (we chose it for them – begin to see the paradox?)”
Agreed that seems a paradox, but, when people do not live in democracy, they live in plutocratic dictatorships. It starts with dictators, but dictatorship is not stable, if it does not use demonic means, hence the adjective “plutocratic”.
This is not just theory, but practical considerations: look at Egypt now. Chief of the Army All Sissi had to make a coup against the Islamists. He went from military dictator (bad, but necessary) to elected president (re-establishment of representative democracy).
If Al Sissi had stayed a dictator (instead of becoming an elected president), he would have had to use more demonic means (because all those who voted for him would have been more or less against him, thus they would have had to be repressed).
Another frequent commenter, EugenR Lowy: “I have to disagree with you about direct democracy. Direct democracy is possible only at the local level and not at the level of big states. More than that I do not believe in the wisdom of the masses, as some obscure decision making theories claim. The masses at the end have tendency to turn to certain authority to lead them, when the situation is becoming too unstable and insecure, and we are back in the worst form of political leadership. To make right political decisions, the decision making must be aware of existence of realities as long term processes and not a stand-still state, which can be immediately corrected. How many among the masses understand this? Even the educated ones not necessarily are aware of this.”
I deeply believe in knowledge and wisdom, but I am not sure even a highly professional scientist is aware of the problematics of political and historical processes, knowledge that is necessary to formulate right opinion in the major political issues.”
There is every reason to believe that scientists are no experts at politics. Several Nobel Prize level scientists became Nazi Party members before Adolf Hitler (at least one of these Nobels had worked closely with Einstein).
Eugen’s point of view does not just condemn Direct Democracy, but even Representative Democracy: after all, in Representative Democracy it’s We The People who elects the representatives, all the way to the head of state.
Hitler’s Nazi Party got enough votes to control the Second Reich (!) Parliament. President Hindenburg thought he had no choice but to select Hitler as Chancellor, in a coalition government. Then the Nazis were able, through their “Patriot Act” to mangle German society enough to acquire total control.
Another example is the nephew of Napoleon I. Elected president of France, he made a coup against himself and baptized himself “Emperor”. Hitler actually copied that method, which had been inaugurated by Napoleon I.
Thus, when Eugen says We The People can make bad choices, it’s true, but it condemns all Democracy, Direct or not. It’s easy to make the argument that “Representative Democracy” is more dangerous than the direct form. Indeed, bad legislation can be reversed, whereas really bad leaders can’t be, once they have seized the Security apparatus.
Socrates and Plato had disserted about the subject of leadership ad nauseam. And incompetently. Whereas Pericles, earlier, advised by better philosophers, including his wife, made a splendid exposition of the “Open Society”. So it’s not a question of times long gone: Pericles expressed the thoughts of Progressive philosophers, whereas Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were of an increasingly fascist and plutocratic persuasion.
Plato’s solution was the “Philosopher-King”. That’s an idiotic notion, because a real philosopher has neither the time, nor the inclination, to be king. Similarly a real king has no time, nor inclination, to be a philosopher.
There were many attempts in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century, to make philosopher-kings. Those who really contributed to civilization positively were few: mostly Henri III and Henri IV of France (and perhaps Francois I, or, paradoxically Louis XVI). Then, of course, Peter the Great.
Both Henri III and Peter were great because they did not hesitate to assassinate execute whom they viewed as the most potent enemies of the very progressive States they led. Against determined Salafists (The Catholic League for Henri III, the “Old Believers” for Peter).
Aristotle, a student of Plato, wrote quite a bit about politics. Differently from Plato who hypocritically brandished the concept of philosophy, Aristotle went all-out for monarchy. His students, friends, executors of his will, were the plutocrats who destroyed Greek democracies, and launched the “Hellenistic States” (which lost on the battlefield, but later won the battles of ideas with the Roman Republic). So Aristotle Destroyed Democracy.
Modern Solution: The Grand Democratic Synthesis:
Socrates bemoaned that Athens voted on anything, and elected everybody, including generals. That, he said, made people who did not know how to make shoes in charge of making shoes.
The solution to this was found by the Roman State, and blossomed during the Middle-Ages. It was what I called DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS.
Those use the principles of representative democracy and meritocracy inside, while, outside, being strictly subordinated to the government. Guilds, Academic, Medical, Judicial, Engineering organizations are examples. And the Army and Police ought to be foremost.
Example: In the modern German army, soldiers are supposed not just to obey the Military Code, but the German Constitution. In general, all armies ought to take their oath to the Constitution first. Or even its spirit (hence Egypt’s Al Sissi was correct).
Modern Solution: We The People Ought To Legislate:
The model is very simple: Switzerland.
Whereas plutocrats need, with the present system, to just buy 2,000 “representatives” to control the entire planet, they cannot buy billions of people: that would defeat their motivation, which is to rule over We The People, not buy them (that’s the taxation we need to apply to them).
So Who Is The Government?
There, to some extent, Switzerland again comes to the fore: it has an executive council of seven, and the president is elected for a year. The Army has only colonels. Generals are elected in case of imminent war.
The historical model here is the Roman Republic. Its executive system ought to be greatly imitated: A Consul had full powers for just one month (on the following month the other Consul had the powers).
In truth, the Roman Republic worked pretty much as a Direct Democracy, although this system was immensely, and way too complicated.
Instead, we should imitate the Athenian Directly Democratic system. With the Internet, the main problem of Athens, namely that voters found very difficult to come speak, debate, and vote at the National Assembly, can be easily solved.
So what about the objection that We The People is dumb, ill-informed, fickle, prone to madness? As I said, this is Plato-Aristotle objection, and just an excuse for plutocracy (preferably with the “philosopher” on top, gorging himself, as Aristotle did).
Those who do not get educated, and are not motivated for education, stay, indeed, dumb, ill-informed, fickle, prone to madness. But what we see in Switzerland is that the Direct Democracy has made We The People ever more motivated to learn stuff, ever more knowledgeable and wise. One can see the Swiss electorate think and change: as a proposition goes to a “votation”, the polls show opinions changing wildly as the weeks go by, and the debate evolves.
We The People can be educated, learn, and grow in wisdom as children do. Given a chance. The 2,000 individuals who presently rule the world, and their sponsors, who telerobotize them, and increasingly own the planet, quite a bit as the Saudi family does, do not want We The People to be given that chance. So let’s grab it.