The Dogma of Democracy Gone Sour

2. Good for Swingers, but not for Everyone Else

Even for citizens able to vote, there is a third problem. In most American states, the voice of the average voter is practically worthless. In presidential elections, as well as in many others, the results in 38 of America’s 50 states are entirely predictable. That leaves just 12# that matter, that decide the outcome. The population of these states in 2012 was 86 million people, 28% of the US population. This means that the American President, the holder of what is arguably the biggest job in the world, is actually chosen by little more than one-quarter of the US population (half of whom do not bother to vote).

This also means that presidential hopefuls spend huge amounts of time, money and effort on a small number of voters, in some of the smallest states in the country, largely ignoring the wishes and interests of the majority. The result is national apathy, with average voter turnout in recent federal elections falling below 40%5 in many states, reflecting a lack of interest or faith in the process.

3. The Voters’ Power Diminished

The fourth major reason why the US and many other western democratic systems are failing has been the rising influence of businesses and lobby groups. Of greatest concern are so-called super PACS — which are like traditional Political Action Committees (PACs) on steroids.

Super PACS are pressure groups that are largely free of any restrictions on their political activities. They can raise unlimited cash from anonymous donors and spend it praising or disparaging particular candidates without declaring their interests or explaining who is supporting them.

As most big businesses support the right-leaning Republican Party in America, many voters are being deceived; they are unaware that the opinions they see expressed on television are often from biased sources. The rich and anonymous are able to manipulate the electoral process for their own ends, without the electorate understanding that the information presented to them is being funded by someone with a specific, but usually undeclared, agenda.

A further concern is the growing influence of America’s richest individuals. Campaign contributions of wealthy people have long been vital to running US elections, especially at the federal level. But for many years they have also been a source of worry. The concern is that these donations allow rich people to buy influence and gain some advantage, often for their businesses or investments, or because they have a private political objective.

A 2012 survey by The Brennan Center6 showed that most Americans believed that as well as leading to greater corruption, the current electoral financing system made it less likely that poorer people would vote at all. “One in four respondents — and even larger numbers of low-income people reported that they are less likely to vote because big donors have so much more sway than average Americans”, the report said.

Part of the problem, of course, is that America’s politicians have been forced to sell their souls, because the cost of running campaigns is so high. Without such huge payments, or a different model, most candidates cannot hope to stand for office. While anyone can theoretically put themselves forward for election, in practice the race is now only open to those who can raise the funds through these corrupting channels, or to the super-rich.

4. Is a Two-party State Twice as Good as a One-party State?

The fifth reason America’s political system is so undemocratic (this also applies in the UK, Ireland, Australia and many other countries) is the astonishing lack of choice offered to voters at the polls. To outsiders, it sometimes appears as if America only has two political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. In fact, there are at least 40 parties to choose from. Among the next largest are the Constitution Party, The Green Party and the Libertarian Party. But there are many more. Most are small and fragmented, some of them having split from the main parties. A large number have extreme views. But some also reflect the views of millions of people, such as the Green Party.

What most of these parties lack is the funding needed to run an enduring campaign at a national or even at a local level. Although more than ten other parties endorsed candidates for the 2012 presidential election, few polled even a fraction of 1% of the vote, partly becausethey found it almost impossible to be heard.

The fact that these parties exist allows politicians from the two dominant parties to claim that their system is democratic, because anyone can stand for office and because the views of all strands of the political spectrum are represented. But the practical barriers that prevent these other parties from holding office make such statements meaningless.

5. The Dogma of Democracy

A wider issue, mostly for those living in less democratic countries, is that the western concept of democracy has become an ideology, a weapon used to bash them. For several decades, the western world has exported an idea, trying to impose it on everyone else. Cosily wrapped in the principles of freedom, equality and justice, “democracy” has become dogma, a doctrine that is proclaimed as true without those who are imposing it needing to provide any proof — because the proof is no longer available. Coupled with the dogma of “the market”, it has encouraged the citizens of other nations to turn their countries into debt-driven consumerist societies, no longer fuelled by a desire for genuine progress but by a heady hunger to go shopping.

As Francis Fukuyama argued in The End of History and The Last Man, the great passions that prompted armed struggles and tremendous acts of heroism in the 20th century and before, have been gradually superseded by the call of the market. Material improvement has given way to material gain. The push for democracy and the free market has made nations trade their principles for Pringles.

Western7 interference, in the name of democracy, played a large part in the “Arab Spring” of 2011, especially in Egypt, where western NGOs spent millions of dollars trying to direct the revolution and manipulate the political process.8 Many of those working for these NGOs were eventually expelled by the Egyptian government. Despite this, western meddling in the country’s political processes remains rife.

The United Arab Emirates has also expelled9 “pro-democracy” NGOs from Europe and the US, which the government found to be tinkering with the country’s internal affairs. After the revolution in Libya,10 the government there attempted to stop US and European groups funding local NGOs as well, fearing that they would manipulate the local democratic processes.

Other countries known to have expelled westerners who were interfering in the democratic process include Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, Syria, Sudan and Bolivia. Many of the same NGOs that were in North Africa in 2011 also played a part in the changes that took place in Myanmar11 in 2012, when the country began to open up to western influence. There are also reports that western-backed groups have intervened in the political freedoms of both Thailand12 and Malaysia.13

Rather than achieving worthy goals, the West’s export of a warped dogma has been undermining its place in the world. Under the name of democracy, the West has tried to incite resistance to the lawful authority of many governments, to overthrow regimes. It has done this to widen western influence, to gain access to raw materials, and to provide business opportunities for western firms, which then strengthen these objectives by attempting to convert them to the free market.

Democracy has lost touch with its meaning and purpose. It is failing to do what it is meant to, in America, Britain and many other places. It has become a tool for western nations to force their ideas onto others. Tied to the religion of economic growth, carried on the wings of the free market, it is being sold as the answer to everyone’s problems, when it is not.

5. “2010 General Election Turnout Rates” United States Election Project
6. “National Survey: Super PACs, Corruption, and Democracy,” Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law April 24, 2012
7. Mohamed Ahmed and Essam Fadl, “Egypt: compelling evidence in US NGO case,” Asharq Al-Awsat February 8, 2012 See also “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” New York Times April 14, 2011
8. “Egypt drops travel ban on prosecuted Americans,” Financial Times March 1, 2012; “Bailed US campaigners fly out as Cairo lifts travel ban,” Financial Times March 2, 2012.
9. “U.A.E. Authorities Expel Pro-Democracy NGOs,” POMED March 30, 2012
10. Jamie Dettmer, “Libya’s Civil Crackdown Worries Democracy Advocates,” The Daily Beast May 28, 2012
11. Tony Cartalucci, “Globalists Grind Development to a Halt in Myanmar,” Land Destroyer Report December 3, 2011
12. Tony Cartalucci, “Indy “Newspaper” Funded by US Government,” Land Destroyer Report August 10, 2011
13. Jordan MacVay, “Anwar and Regime Change,” The Mole March 15, 2012

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