Democracy in Crisis and Why Democracy Matters

Educate the next generation so as to cope intellectually, morally, and politically with the messiness and complexity of the world.

            Yehuda Elkana

In developing democracy in the United States and Europe over the last few centuries, the people of both continents have forged five fundamental safeguards against the tyranny of those with dangerous personality disorders. These safeguards are: representative democracy, in which leaders are freely elected and freely removed by the people; the separation of church and state, which limits the ability of tyrants to wield the power of the state on behalf of sectarian causes; social democracy, in which the state has the responsibility to redistribute wealth in order to minimise poverty and ensure social cohesion; pooled sovereignty, which reduces nationalist sentiment and deprives tyrants of a rallying cry to arms; and the protection of individual human rights in law, including the rights of minorities, which deprives tyrants of their most vulnerable scapegoats. Although the mix of safeguards varies between the United States and Europe, and between countries in Europe, they together characterise the Western democratic model.   Continue reading

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How Kleptocracy Shapes Our World

In many countries around the world today, governments are designed not primarily to govern but to serve the personal enrichment of ruling elites. Kleptocracy is the term used to describe such ‘government by thieves’, whereby top political elites systematically raid state resources with impunity.[1] Kleptocracy is enabled by the absence of democratic checks and balances on those in power. Kleptocratic governments undermine the rule of law, subjugate the courts and media, and deploy state security services to enrich the ruling elite and pacify the population.[2]  Kleptocracy is largely responsible for creating and perpetuating many of today’s global crises, including acute poverty and hunger, war, religious extremism, and global inequality.  Continue reading

Demons and angels: strongman leaders – democracy or mob rule?

Those who struggle for freedom across the world know that free elections, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of the press, and equality regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation are the pillars of democratic systems that protect us from a minority who would subjugate us and turn us against one another for their personal gain. Democracy matters because it is all that stands between us and the Hitlers, Stalins, Maos and Pol Pots that live among us still. Continue reading here.

Trump’s Victory is Not Democracy in Action, It is Democracy in Crisis

Donald Trump’s victory is a major blow to western democracy, delivering as it does the most powerful position on earth to a man who clearly demonstrates personality traits that many psychiatrists and mental health professionals have warned are consistent with narcissistic personality disorder. Trump’s most divisive acts during the election campaign are consistent with someone who suffers from this serious emotional and mental disorder. As the UK Guardian newspaper points out, by electing someone whose behaviour is consistent with this severe disorder, Americans have done a very dangerous thing, and because of what they have done,the world faces dark, uncertain and fearful times.    Continue reading

Understanding Democracy – Social Democracy

Like pure democracy, undiluted capitalism is intolerable

                                                                        Wilhelm Ropke

Two pillars in our modern system of democracy emerged from the catastrophes of world war and genocide. These building blocks are social democracy and the legal protection of individual human rights.     Continue reading

Understanding Democracy – The Rule of Law

Of all the pillars in our modern system of democracy, none has had as great an impact as the development of the rule of law. The rule of law reduces violence, provide a means of holding leaders to account, forces a degree of rationality into political decision making, and offers protection for citizens against the arbitrary actions of their rulers.   Continue reading