2 thoughts on “Democracy is a Have-Cake-Eat-Cake Dilemma

  1. Fair enough, catering to emotionally based wants is misleading and essentially bad. But how do you envisage a government that actually caters to the real “needs” of the people instead of the impulses generated by money and power? Isn’t what you are proposing a benevolent dictatorship? But could a benevolent dictatorship ever really come about? The mere fact that it was a dictatorship would undermine it because people would never trust it.

    • Ah, that’s a good question. First, in essence, I am proposing a benevolent dictatorship, although I realise that this is unrealistic in practise, although not, practically impossible; there are, after all, many forms of government (like the ones I use for illustration) that function along these lines just fine. What’s required is a cultural shift away from the very self-centered view of the individual as a sovereign and all-knowing entity; of allowing a certain degree of humility to permeate society; of individuals realising and recognising that they are not experts on everything under the sun. Just like you go to the doctor for medical expertise, and to university for education, people should understand that the purpose of the government is to coordinate the accumulated knowledge and experience of mankind, for the benefit of everyone. That is not an impossible task. The harder task is to create a government that is capable of keeping away from the temptation of abusing their power; and of recognising that their needs are secondary to the needs of the people. But I don’t think this is impossible either, although it would require the selection of politicians with strong morals and with strong ethic principles. A good start would be requirements for politicians to have practical (as opposed to theoretical) experience of governing; of actually -being- the people. But another requisite is for politicians to be educated and intelligent, and if they are to be the people, the people must first be educated. So, in order to change the system, one must start from the bottom up: of providing education for everyone, and of being aware of the different fallacies that come from emotion; like a second renaissance of the Enlightenment. Benign tyranies do exist to some degree (although you can argue with the semantics); just look at the highly-socialised countries of Scandinavia. Although these are far from perfect, at least they have the requisites required for further progress, for example, by offering free education (although this could be much improved), which closes the gaps that currently exist in experience between people.

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