By Sam Vaknin
You must login to vote
Author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited"
Many nations have chosen prosperity over democracy. Yes, they can't speak their mind or protest or criticize or even joke lest they be arrested or worse - but, in exchange for giving up these trivial freedoms, they have food on the table, they are fully employed, they receive ample health care and proper education, they save and spend to their hearts' content. In return for all these worldly goods, they forgo the right to vote once every four years. Many insist that they have struck a good bargain - not a Faustian one.
From Venezuela to Russia and from China to Ecuador, the idea of democracy is out of favour.
The West has transformed the ideal of democracy into an ideology at the service of imposing a new colonial regime on its former colonies. Spearheaded by the United States, the white and Christian nations of the West embarked with missionary zeal on a transformation, willy-nilly, of their erstwhile charges into profitable paragons of "democracy" and "good governance".
Moreover, democracy is far from what it is made out to be.
For instance, it is maintained by their chief proponents that democracies are more peaceful than dictatorships. But the two most belligerent countries in the world are, by a wide margin, Israel and the United States (closely followed by the United Kingdom). As of late, non-democratic China is one of the most tranquil polities.
Democracies are said to be inherently stable (or to successfully incorporate the instability inherent in politics). This, too, is a confabulation. The democratic Weimar Republic gave birth to Adolf Hitler and democratic Italy had almost 50 governments in as many years. The bloodiest civil wars in history erupted in Republican Spain and, seven decades earlier, in the United States. Czechoslovakia, the USSR, and Yugoslavia imploded upon becoming democratic, having survived intact for more than half a century as tyrannies.
Democracies are said to be conducive to economic growth (indeed, to be a prerequisite to such). But the fastest economic growth rates in history go to imperial Rome, Nazi Germany, the Stalinist USSR, Putin's Russia and post-Mao China.
Granted, democracy allows for the free exchange of information and, thus, renders markets more efficient and local-level bureaucracies less corrupt. This ought to be conducive to economic growth. But who says that the airing of municipal grievances and the exchange of non-political (business and economic) ideas cannot be achieved in a dictatorship?
Even in North Korea, only the Dear Leader is above criticism and reproach - all others: politicians, civil servants, party hacks, and army generals can become and are often the targets of grassroots criticism and purges. The ruling parties in most tyrannies are umbrella organizations that represent the pluralistic interests of numerous social and economic segments and strata. For many people, this approximation of democracy - the party as a "Big Tent" - is a more than satisfactory solution to their need to be heard.
Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East.
He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com