Monday, 22 June 2015

The Down Side of Democracy

The nights are drawing in!

Been thinking about democracy over the last few days and have reached the inescapable conclusion that it only works within a relatively homogeneous population.

Democracy, where the majority rule, will invariably produce a tyranny of the majority and the only way to reduce the detrimental effects of that is for everyone to be much the same so that needs are aligned as much as possible. Where there are large differences within a population, be that socio-economic, racial, etc., the tyranny of the majority will be most divisive. 

The object of government therefore must be to reduce large differences wherever possible, but that is not possible while a tyrannical majority exists - it has no vested interest in eliminating differences as it is those very differences that result in power, and all governments love power. It can only be achieved by the electorate voting in a party dedicated to the eradication of large differences - and these are few and far between.

I believe that, despite what people say or political correctness or groupthink dictates, every one of us is a selective categorist at heart - be it based on the family, the tribe, the village, the football team, the political party, the class, the sexuality, the gender, the nation, the religion or the race. The more the person referred to is like ourselves in one or more of the afforementioned categories, the less the anxiety we feel in their company.

When the anxiety is based on race we call it racism and are told it's bad, as race, like gender or sexuality, cannot be changed. However, I would contend many are almost as unable to change their political view or religious philosophy as they are their race - the decisions are not necessarily based on logic, but something deeper and fundamentally forceful, such as culture and parentage, which are extremely difficult to overcome. At the nation level we call the anxiety nationalism and it's at the root of all nationalist movements, from the SNP to the Kurds - and unscrupulous politicians with a naked desire for power prey on it.

The feeling we get from belonging to something greater than ourselves is a powerful drive within humans - we're a social species, but to a limit. We feel most comfortable living in societies comprised of people just like us. That's why immigrants gather in ghettos and why indigenous people feel threatened by an influx of immigrants into their neighbourhood. The further one gets away from the family in terms of social unit, the less the feeling of belonging and the greater the anxiety.

Trying to create one big melting pot of racial harmony is, in my opinion, misdirected. It goes against the natural human instinct to stick with people like ourselves and is doomed to failure because of this essential human condition.

While immigrants are in a distinct minority, the drive for them to assimilate is powerful and differences are thus reduced - they become more like us - but when immigrants become the majority in any one location, the drive to assimilate dies through lack of need and differences proliferate, resulting in societal tension between different groups.

For democracy to work effectively, immigration policy must be directed toward reducing differences, not encouraging them. Multiculturalism is a naturally divisive policy. So too is the EU objective of a single European nation - it cannot work, much as some would like it to, as the natural cultural differences prevalent within pre-existing boundaries or regions (and I mean particularly the cultural differences between the Teutonic/Protestant and Latin/Catholic regions) cannot be eliminated and integration of the population into one homogeneous, undifferentiated nation where tyranny of the majority is minimised is basically impossible.


  1. Replies
    1. Only if you're a white, Anglo-Dutch of protestant heritage (but currently atheist), of middle class and an ex sailor...

  2. I think that the decline in democracy that you are referring to is because the UK does not have Proportional Representation which is a much fairer system.

    1. I fundamentally disagree that PR is a solution. It leads to weak government, a proliferation of extremist input and invariably the rug being pulled from under the ruling coalition's feet mid-term. I believe it is a worse form of government and greater tensions between groups than first past the post where there are large differences within the population.