Monday, 8 December 2014

The Second Enlightenment - Debunking Democracy

More people seem to be waking up to the fact that
populist democracy controlled by money is a political dead-end. 

However, just as otherwise enlightened individuals such as Galileo and Newton dared not deny God, modern-day democracy skeptics are hesitant to challenge its sanctity. Without God, one’s doomed. Without democracy, life’s unthinkable. That’s the mantra. Don’t question.

Capitalistic liberal democracy (let’s call it Democracy with a big dee) bears many resemblances to its religious predecessor. God and Democracy are similarly upheld by faith rather than reason, analysis, or benchmarked assessment. Democracy, a virtual replacement of God in most of ex-Christendom, is equally absolute and elusive, impossible to define. Politics in the USA, France, Italy, Greece, Japan, India, Switzerland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. differ in form, substance, and spirit. Even buddies like the US and UK have markedly different political structures. But as long as they hoist the Democracy banner, all is fine. Like God, Democracy’s good by tautology. Details are unimportant. 
The missionary ferocity of Democracy fanatics is reminiscent of their pious forebears. They see nothing wrong with crying havocs and letting loose the dogs of Democracy on undemocratic heathens. All for their own good you see. To the faithfuls, the D-word has absolute moral authority which takes precedence over the innocent lives of heretics.

Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a big surprise. For most of the past two millennia, what we call Western civilisation now was a theocracy. On the timeline of history, secularism is only a recent evolution. In the social DNA, there seems to be a strong residual yearning for something divine to believe in, and moralise about.

After the long Dark Ages, the Renaissance awoke Europe to the ecclesiastic chokehold on its intellectual and creative potentials. The result was astounding, revolutionary, and brilliant, but far from complete. The Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries was in essence Phase Two of a movement to depart from theocratic dictatorship. That too was remarkably inspiring, and successful in some areas, for a while, though arguably still work in progress. In God-fearing USA, all presidential candidates (unless a genuine bible-thumper), fake religious piety. In that secular democracy, creation versus evolution is still a “controversial” subject in the 21st century.

I won’t repeat why I think Democracy inevitably falls into the hands of a few (see Democracy Mission — a Conspiracy Theory). In principle, it’s up to the citizens of Democracies to sort it out, or keep voting. Good luck. None of my business. Unfortunately, we share the same tiny planet, and there are pressing issues which require global efforts to resolve, or contain. First and foremost is climate change. 

Climate change is incontrovertible except to delusional politicians who don’t even have Grade-10 Science. Our common survival depends on coordinated, committed and persistent actions being taken now, and sustained over the coming decades and beyond. Like it or not, nature’s time-scale is much longer than election cycles. 

There are plenty of wise men and women in democratic countries who understand and care about the long-term. But without multi-billion-dollar sponsors, they seldom get past the level of municipal politics. The rare ones who do are promptly marginalised and submerged. Populism is short-term, fickle, and speculative by nature, willingly swayed by chimeras such as the mythical “self-regulating forces of the market”. The ballot box has an overwhelming preference for charismatic opportunists who promise a square moon with straight camera faces. “Tired of the same round moon? I hear you! As your president, I’ll do everything I can to deliver a bright square one — every night! The people deserve a change, a new way to illuminate the darkness of night! God bless our great nation!” 

Hear! Hear! Hallelujah! 

Yeah, sure.

Homo sapiens, a young and self-endangered species on an insignificant planet, can no longer afford this entertainment. If our survival and dominance on Earth are to be prolonged, we need to make some difficult choices, unpopular decisions, and inconvenient compromises, very soon. To do that, we need competent leaders, not duplicitous followers.

Democracy might have served some countries well for a little while. But all human inventions face obsolescence brought on by changes in circumstances, and are subject to abuse. Democracy is due for a full checkup. Switching off Democracy’s halo doesn’t mean the automatic rise of oppressive dictatorship. Satan taking over to grill you over a big fire, if you abandon God, is only the phantasmagoria of fanatic lunatics. Quite the opposite, Democracy is sneakily, legally, becoming tyrannical through the incremental endorsement of your elected representatives. Invasion of foreign countries and domestic privacy, subsidising rapacious bankers, operating Guatanamo Bay, carrying out drone assassinations, incurring impossible debts and promoting insane fiscal policies are all done without due process or consent of  “the people of this great nation”. 

Democracy secularism will help some countries to think and act pragmatically out of the ballot box again, and rediscover their problem solving talents. Curbing Democracy fanaticism may help to reduce pointless aggressions, and make the world a safer place. True freedom is the ability to think beyond preordained confines imposed through brainwashing.

To reinvent capitalistic Democracy will be more onerous than the Renaissance or the Enlightenment. But the consequence of doing nothing would be disastrous. For humanity to move forward, the D word should be debunked, just as the G word that went before. The world needs a Second Enlightenment to liberate humanity’s inventive spirit, for self-salvation this time, as a matter of urgency.

James Tam

1 comment:

Guy Wong said...

Great article. Very insightful and it's absolutely true. Great comparison of the G word with the D word. Thank you.