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Democratic Values



Chris MYRSKI, 2004

     This is a relatively small speech about the moral and the democracy, the point being that these are different things; also about the democracy in general and is it good or bad and why it is how it is; as also about what we may do if we want to make things better. But, it being a speech, you have to know, that the word "speech" is related to the word, sorry, "spit", what has to say that one has to expect some "spitting" against the democracy. Well, if you think so, then you will not be disappointed, especially in the poetical appendix at the end.

0. Stating Of The Question

     Very often in the latter years I have been highly alarmed by the commonly used phrase about the "democratic values" which we have to defend, insist upon them, apply in our work, turn into reality, maintain constantly, and so on, meaning some moral values that have come to life with the democracy, but the point is, though I much regret to say this, that it could not be true by the simple fact that the democracy itself has no moral values! It would not be correct, however, to say that it is unmoral thing because it isn't even unmoral, having, or providing us with, no moral at all, but it just isn't moral. I mean that if somebody does not like something this doesn't mean that this person definitely dislikes it, no, he or she may feel just indifferent to it. Yeah, but the humans, being, as it is well known, imperfect (something that every religion will tell you), tend never to make this "little" difference between something that has not (or has but in very limited amount) the properties of the discussed kind, and that it is of the opposite kind. Similar situations of direct jumping to the other pole occur very often — take, for example, the known rule that: he, who isn't with us, is against us. Such fast inclining to the one endpoint is also the reason why God should always be good (because the world is so beautiful), or, in the ancient religions, then always bad (because the world is so cruel to the humans), but never indifferent to the (presumably created by Him) life, as it is, and as it is stated by the atheists, but that is another matter.
     The moral, and I will give here one maybe new but simple definition, is: system of notions which has the purpose to unite the population in the time and the space, where the time is the more important point because in the space we can be united even by some force. The moral says what is good and what is bad, how to behave in the society, how to live allowing the other persons to live also their lives, and for that reason the religions have been created. But this has nothing to do with the governing body or the state, especially under the democracy; this may have something to do, and it really had, in totalitarian states, or in the ancient medieval and ruled by the church states, or under Muslims' sharia-law (or in the times of the pharaohs, etc.). The moral has no saying under democracy also because the democracy is ruled by laws and not by moral values, and the laws may easily be made even unmoral, by the way, because they are voted in Parliaments (and the later would, as a rule, defend the interests of the powerful and wealthy persons, not these of the common people), or just silly (take for example the prohibition law in USA), or lead to totalitarian governments (as was the case with the coming to power of the fascists in Germany, but this also is another matter, though related to the minuses of the democracy).
     Of course the moral can also be bad — nothing created by humans is perfect — but it is more adjusted to the place and the time, and this in interest of the whole population. The laws can, and they often do, allow existence of the organized crime, where the common moral sense will reject such things, or try to change something so that all will be happy — because the organized crime is a state in the state and it arises when the official state can't fulfill its work properly; these are not "bad guys" (robbers, killers, etc.) who work against the society, but an organization that works for the society, or for a significant part of it. But we will not discuss here the laws, though, even if they have to be discussed because: if they are of such importance (as, say, mathematics, or languages, or literature, or physical culture, and so on), then they have to be studied in all schools; and if they are not so important, then in the judicial courts the ruling role should be that of the common sense of the representatives of the population, not of the judges and lawyers; and should not be allowed for the best lawyer to win the case but the truth must win, and not for money, of course. So, but let us continue with the democracy and ask us now the question:

1. What Is The Democracy?

     Well, the democracy is mainly: free elections between many parties, what is well known. But the point is that this is not a reasonable way to choose, and it isn't such a way because, if it was, it would have been applied in many other areas like, say: business, school and education, army, health care, etc., but such free elections are used nowhere there — maybe just some democratic elements, but not between everybody who wants to be elected and without some qualification papers or exams, not from everybody whom it may concern, and not in such big groups where cannot be good knowledge of the persons to be elected. In other words, the democratic elections turn out to be a choice done: by people who do not understand (the problem area of governing of big masses of people), out of minority they do not know (they have not lived or worked with them for some years, and they have not had even a cup of coffee or a beer together), and without any proof for qualification (even without proof for sanity or some psychological tests).
     The elections are based mainly on delusion — that the electorate have to give their votes about who they want to be governed by, but they do not choose for a given post, they choose abstractly, according to their liking, and liking means not competence; besides, the "bad parties" also take part in the Parliaments and receive exactly the same salaries, and in no other contests is accepted for the losers also to receive prizes! The democratic choice is just a paradox because it contradicts to the common sense! But ... — and this is very important thing — it works (and not bad, in many cases)! So how is it possible that even if something contradicts to the common sense it may still work? Well, the simplest answer is that the human beings are not very capable of thinking, they usually think only after they have tried all unreasonable ways (and that is why the wars are so widely spread among the folks, by the way, because there are reasonable ways for proving who is stronger in economical, or militaristic, or intellectual, or physical, and so on sense, if that is what has to be proved). Some in the West say that nowadays the humans have to be called not homo sapience but homo mediaticus, because they are greatly influenced by all the media which, obviously, manipulate them, but this may not be so bad when people just want to be deceived (what, turns out, was Latin proverb: mundus wult decipi!). And, besides, it is also well known that the bottleneck of all social systems are the people, hence we work with what material we have, isn't it so?
     It may be put also in this way: the democracy is the best ... baby's pacifier for the populace, because it preserves the system and makes people happy! And as much as the happiness of the folks is important, the more important is the preservation of the system, because the democracy allows changing of the rulers and retaining of the democracy. So well, one would justly ask now: and what do you, author, want to say, the democracy is, but in one word — a good thing, or a bad one? And then the author is again forced to say — neither of it! The democracy is like ... like the life — it is neither good nor bad, it has just to be lived with. Or, if the reader will allow me one lyrical diversion, it is something, according to Erich Kästner, like the Earth (which is "she" in German, but rather meaning by this the life), which is round and if you look at her from the front you may find out that you are looking, I beg to excuse me, into her behind (and vice versa)! And in Bulgaria, for example, Miss Democracy (or, better, Missis, because she is married to the Government) has turned her bottom to us for about 15 years now.
     And, if one asks then, how it may happen that in some countries democracy leads to good things but in other countries to bad things, here the simplest answer is that all depends on the demos, or that: whichever is the demos such is the -cracy. But the simplest answer is not always the right one (or it has to be explained further), because there are, above all, economical reasons, and the choice, even if it could be competently made (and it could not, as we have said above), is like taking, say, apples out of a basket. And the point is that sometimes (and -places) whichever party or leader one chooses the things go well, respectively badly. In other words, the choice is of no (or of minor — I hope you have not forgotten that all is just a humbug, or a show) importance! If we use our apple-simile in Bulgaria all "apples" (and these are not the various parties or politicians, they too, but also the economical situation) are green and sour, whereas in, say, America, all are ripe and full of flavour. In other words, the democracy is only background for the social processes, it isn't panacea against misery or bad economy and organization in the country.
     And to finish with this question let us add another curious point and it is that the most positive part of the democracy are not its official representative organs (the Parliament and Government) but what lies out of them, the extra-parliamentarian powers (such like: strikes and demonstrations, some groups and societies, say Green Peace, Trade Unions, Churches, women or youth leagues, intellectuals, etc.)! And vice versa, the worst part of the democratic system is its official part! This is due to the fact that the democracy is not effective but mainly attractive system! It is like ... the necktie, it works when all are well fed, in peaceful times, and in countries with strong economies, but otherwise it fails. But this, still, is a good point, that the extra-parliamentarian forces may be very powerful, because in this way the democracy can always be improved in some ways, being not perfect. Even more, the democracy is based (though this usually is not explained to the populace) on the supposition that there is not a good party, or that all parties are bad (or, if you prefer the optimistic point of view, then: all, but really all, of the parties are equally good), because if some party turns to be very good then why to make further elections? — and exactly such were the things in the totalitarian states (as we in Bulgaria very well know). And if one asks, why it is so good not to be perfect, I would like to formulate one more general rule, and it is the following: the worst point of the bad things is that they have some good points (and that is why they influence the masses); as much as the reverse statement is also right, namely that: the best point of the good things is that they have some bad points (and that is why they change with the time)! So, and now let us see what can be made better (if at all) and how, i.e. to ask ourselves

2. What Is Bad With The Democracy?

     Well, as we have stated in the beginning, the democracy has no moral, because, of course: it is not a moral thing to elect people who just can boast more than the others and despise all who think otherwise; it's not moral to defend the partial truth because of their personal (or party) interests, and not the interests of the whole population; it isn't moral to use business circles or common fonts for personal showing-off or usage; and it is not moral to participate in a humbug (or delusion). Frankly speaking, the whole party system is not a good one because, if one pulls upward, another downward, and the third backward, we may hardly expect to move forward. But still, as far the democracy works well in some countries, we may accept the necessity of parties (because in smaller groups there can be better knowledge of each other), we may accept the democratic humbug (as far the folks like it so much), also the business circles and some embezzlement of common values (because the ruling of state is also a kind of business, and to apply for the elections one has to have some, and usually big, money), and even the boasting (because if one does not insist to be elected then how he or she may be made known for to be elected?). Yeah, we may accept everything — as far as we have to live with the democracy — but ... but we may want to better the things, don't we?
     Further, the democracy is ineffective (by the same reason of pulling in different directions), but this, too, may be accepted, because there must be moderation in all things and if the economy in the recent one-two centuries is still much more accelerated then needed (to accept it and to live comfortable in such fast changing environment), then some slowing of the forward movement is a good thing. But it is, again, not good for badly developed countries and economies (as is the case in our country, Bulgaria), so there must be more partnership between parties, and exactly because some uniting of political forces is necessary that is the reason why we don't have it — a strange thing, don't you find? As you see, Missis Democracy is too round and we often look at her behind. Hence, if it can be good for many of well developed countries to allow some minor differences in the views of different parties (and they are really minor, not as in our country), this situation in not acceptable for us and it should be improved somehow.
     Also, it is important to explicitly state that the contemporary democracy is not a ruling of the population, it is just changing of the rulers (incompetently chosen, as we have already said)! But, as much as I would like to propose that our democracy has to become really ruling of the whole population, I have to abstain from making such proposition (maybe, because I don't want to become one of the elected and, therefore, I am trying to be objective and not partial). If everyone was capable of ruling (what incorrectly is supposed by the free democratic elections) this should mean that the ruling is a simple job, but almost everyone is convinced that it is not so. If real ruling by the population have been implemented this would have led either to anarchy or (if the majority will have the ruling) then to bigger incompetence. Imagine, for example, what will be if in such poor country like Bulgaria the population has to decide about the prize of the bread — well, very soon there will be no bread produced. So what to do then?
     And in this place we have to begin making some distinction in the different ways of governing or influencing the Government, in which connection we have to distinguish between, namely: strategic and tactic governing! The strategy is, in general, what to do (the wish) and do we like what is done (the estimation), and the tactics is how to do it (how to make the governmental clock to say "tic-tac"). The folks may, and must, have full saying in the strategy, but the people may not understand the tactics and have not to mix with it! That's it, though there is not always easy to say where the tactics ends and the strategy begins, or vice versa. The things are made more confused by the fact that the elected body contains tacticians (because the folks or the electors are the strategists), but in fact, when these tacticians take some ministerial posts, they became strategists because the real tacticians in the Ministries are not elected (they simply do their work and know how to do it, for they are professionals, not politicians). And, besides, the folks (the strategists) still have not the knowledge to chose the tacticians — the latter have to be proposed by some competent authorities and here comes the role of the parties which are more or less competent, though not as much as it could have been wished.
     But in all cases the estimation (the role of jury) has to be made by the population, or, at least, the population has to vote for each new law in the Parliament, for each important step in country's policy, and exactly because this is very important (and in no other jury it is allowed for a member of the jury to take part in the contest) exactly for that reason in no of the existing Parliaments this is accepted, meaning that the Parliaments make the laws and they vote for them! If this isn't an absurd then you give a better example! If for the well developed countries this paradox may exist, for us it should be abolished! It may exist in some countries also because they have there two Houses of Parliament and we haven't even this (though both Houses are not what we shall propose in the next section).
     This may (and will) require some changing of the Constitution, but it is not at all difficult to perform voting between arbitrary chosen representatives of the population — say hundred, or thousand (or 10,000 if you want) — for each of the above mentioned situations; and even between the whole population — simply using some plastic cards like those for cash withdrawal on the streets (phone-cards), and with nearly the same apparatus (even simpler, because the money part will be redundant), or via Internet at home. There are, really, no problems for such periodical voting — say, ones in a quarter of a year, for up to five questions with up to five possible answers. Without changing of the Constitution this may not be compulsive for the Parliament, but it will nearly be, because nobody and no party will want to meet with such blamage as not to take this voting into account. And, still, it is not applied anywhere in the world! But the democracy is full of paradoxes, so that one more or one less has not to surprise us anymore. Well, let us now see what we have to do if we are capable of performing some radical changes in the system, i.e.

3. How To Better The Democratic System?

     As we have already said one good thing of the democracy is that it allows easily to make changes in the system from below, using even extra-parliamentarian powers. In our case the first thing to do will be to better the Parliament which has much to be desired, because all contemporary Parliaments in the world differ from Greek Areopag in ancient Athens which consisted of 500 representatives chosen by 10 persons out of 50 genders (the so called "dems"). And the difference is not in the number of people there, of course, but in the relatively good representativeness of the population (if we don't upset us by the fact that the women and the slaves have had no rights at all in that times), because each part of the population was represented on a gender basis (but that was what was important in these times), and the very choice in many cases was done, presumably, by a lot! In our enlightened times we don't like much to use arbitrary methods and lots, especially in political matters, but they are very useful in providing of good representativeness — and very simple, because there are other methods for choosing by some parameters (like: education level, religion, age, wealth, etc.), but they are more difficult to be performed, and to be sure that nothing can be faked.
     Also, to put it in other words, all contemporary Parliaments are non-representative choices of the population (and our, so called, National Assembly, is just a contradictio in adjecto); they have to be called "Political Assemblies" or the like, because they represent proportionally just the politicians, who are at most 10 (but usually only 3 to 5) percent of the population! And in fact they are called otherwise, because the word "Parliament" means some "speaking place" — something like the pub, with that difference that their "consummation" is prepaid by the taxpayers. Being moderate the author does not like to be too radical even in radical propositions so let us retain the existing Parliament and the elections (when people like this show so much) but let us put the elected in this way persons in just one House of the Parliament called The House Of The Politicians. Then the other House will be called The House Of The Representatives, which has to be filled with persons chosen by simple arbitrary choice between the whole population in age, say, from 20 (including) to 70 (excluding) years taking by two persons for each year, what makes exactly 100 (and then the House Of The Politicians would be better to consist also of 100 persons).
     To be sure that this arbitrary choice could not be falsified the persons may be chosen using the Unique Citizenship Number, UCN (as in Bulgaria, where it is called EGN, but in other countries it may be the insurance number or the like) and each part of it (the month of birth, the day of birth, and the other part of the number but it has to be taken by digits) has to be chosen simultaneously in different spheres, and at the moment when the whole number is completed it has to be checked whether this person exists, and if not, then he has to be newly chosen (but it's enough to redo only the non existing parts of the number, say: for 29 of February only the day is to be chosen again). This procedure has to be performed officially and periodically repeated with the purpose that The House Of The Representatives be partly (say to 50 per cent) reelected each half year. All the laws and important questions have to be voted and approved in both Houses, otherwise rejected and the old situation remained (and if there an old situation does not exist, what in some cases is possible, then the House Of The Politicians can have the right to vote but with greater majority, or something like that). There are no principal problems that could not be solved if this idea is found good. There may exist also an "Enlarged House of the Representatives" of, say, 1,000 persons for voting in more important cases (and also for other purposes).
     And, still, there is one more important minus in the democratic system, namely that it has not some independent body (meaning from the business or political spheres), which has to be bothered with other questions different from voting — say, with some moral questions, or defending of the rights of the customers, or for correspondence with the Parliament through this body for everyone and/or non-parliamentarian organizations, or even performing of law suits in cases of greater importance (as it was in ancient Greece), or something else. It is important (to have one such place and not many and contradicting organizations) and it has to be chosen similarly by arbitrary choice (unless another well-motivated method can be found) out of the whole population. Then there is the need to reform the law system. And other matters, but all that remaines may be done in the framework of some nonpolitical organizations, if the people have enough time and money (and especially the latter they do not have in Bulgaria nowadays) to organize themselves, because the democracy, though incorrectly taken for form of ruling of the population, still, must involve more and more people in the governing and moralizing, otherwise it will differ not much from some oligarchy, or "polito-garchy", or "business-garchy", and this often is worse than totalitarian ruling.

     April 2004



My Salute to the Democracy

  To democracy salute
I will give, and rather good,
That is eloquent enough
Of the matter and the stuff.

For I like them very much —
These elections and the such,
Giving me the right to vote
Which one we shall take the road.

Scratching, though, once my head,
Jumped a thought that namely said:
"How can we make the choice
Being laic girls and boys?"

Either choosing's very easy
(And then why to make us busy?),
Or it's difficult a task
(Which to solve we shouldn't be asked)!

And it isn't, let me say,
Used in business, anyway,
Not in army, not in schools —
But if so, then we are fools!

For the choice from below
Can't be competent, you know?
And, if contest this should be,
Why the losers, too, take seats?

And the Parliament, you see,
Represents not you and me,
But, let's say, some three per cent,
Who are wealthy and potent.

All in all, it's just a fake,
And this gives me right to make
My salute of special art —
That's: ... to give a sound fart!

July 2002
© Христо Мирский
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