Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How Democracy works...NOT

    Democracy, from Greek demokratia "popular government," from demos "common people." is a great idea and a wonderful ideal. Abraham Lincoln best described it as “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

    Unfortunately, for actual democracy to work there must be a “the people,” a homogenous group of common people with common interests. And they must be homogenous in social, political, financial and religious ideals. Democracy worked in ancient Athens because this was true - all voters were white males with common social, political and religious values. The principal problem, as the recent conditions in Egypt clearly illustrate, arises when ”the people” are not a homogenous lot. Under these circumstances a well-organized and cohesive minority can “steal” democracy away from the actual majority. A clear example of this is the AFL-CIO of the 50s in the U.S. By garnering a large majority of labor votes, candidates could be elected despite the fact that the other “common” people voted otherwise with their various ideals. The best example I know of was the U.S. presidential election of 1964. Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater split the white vote roughly 50-50. However, Johnson’s appeal to black and Hispanic voters turned the election into one of the biggest routs in recent history with Johnson receiving approximately 60% of the “popular” vote.

    Political strategists have known this fact for generations and every political campaign, at least since the 50s, has been aimed at getting certain reasobly large minorities to bloc vote - labor, women, African-Americans, Hispanics. Therefore, the ruling “majority” is not an actual majority at all, but rather a collection of special interests of organized minorities.

    Nowhere has this fact been so blatantly clear as in Egypt, where an organized minority of around 24% of the population stole the Revolution and the supposed democratic election. Is it any wonder that the majority were mad at Morsi? There is no way that any country can achieve true democracy when so severely split on religious grounds. Only in countries where there is a fundamentalist Islamist majority can majority rule be achieved. Even so this “majority” must be of one particular sect for the majority to be effective. Failing this religious homogeneity I see very little hope for democracy in any country where radical Islam is a significant force. And it is not Islam that is the problem. It is a minority attempting to impose its will on an unorganized and diverse majority.

    And please remember, this principle applies equally to any culture where there is substantial social, economic, political or religious apartheid.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Avoiding the Void

I have been watching a lot of David Attenborough specials on telly lately. The photography is stunning; the production values are superb. Attenborough seems to have a tendency to emphasize the brutality of nature (which is true) in such a way as to hammer home the point. It made me think...Is there really anything else to life besides eating, defecating, breeding, dying and the incessant whirling, spinning and flailing about we do to in order to avoid the ultimate emptiness of existence?

I got an image the other day of life being a funnel filled with sugar. When we are born it is full and we begin to spoon more and more into the funnel as steadily it flows out the other end. Therefore, it continues to appear full, but should we pause, even for a moment, the hole at the bottom is exposed and no amount of shovelling can ever fill it again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Times they are a'changing

Listening to some Roy Orbison this morning and wondering how he would have done on American Idol.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Peace on Earth would be devastating to the world economy, particularly the US, UK, Germany, France and Russia. War is good for business...ask Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, EADS, and Uralvagonzavod, just to name a few.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Confessions of a Spiritual Retard

I seem to have been born missing the belief gene. I do not seem to have the capacity to believe in anything that does not present at least some evidence to my experience. And even if I do believe, I am conscious of the fact that it is merely a theory, an hypothesis, a possibility, but not a fact. Even the religion of science presents theories or beliefs, but these beliefs then seem to be accepted as fact. Take the Big Bang Theory for example. It is only a theory, but most scientists believe it and have closed their minds to any other possibility. Therefore, it is a fact...not!

When I was a teenager my youngest sister (age 2-3) believed in two imaginary friends, Goon and Charlie, who lived in the storm sewer. For the life of me I could never make contact with these friends, which I considered a personal failing. Eventually though she forgot about them as she grew up. I suppose Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were the next imaginary characters to occupy her imagination. They too fell away in time.

It seems, however, that around the world supposed grown-ups believe in a variety of imaginary friends of the most preposterous kind. Many have an imaginary friend who tells them what to eat and what not to eat as well as what to wear, particularly on their heads. And this imaginary friend apparently gets very angry if his rules are violated. To hear them talk about it this imaginary friend is a very vindictive and arbitrary despot. Why would one want such a friend? This friend seems to pick which children to kill and where to inflict all sorts of disasters like floods and earthquakes. And it is quite clear that this friend doesn't like women so well in most cases. This friend's one redeeming grace seems to be its interest in sports. The competitor who has the greatest influence with this friend seems to win the sports contests.

And, once more, for the life of me, I can find no evidence whatsoever in my own experience that would even vaguely point to the existence of such an imaginary friend, just as I could find no evidence of Goon and Charlie. However, at least Goon and Charlie were much friendlier and more fun than this other imaginary friend.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I am watching a History Channel program on the medieval mind and it strikes me how much 21st century Islamist fundamentalism shares the idiotic, thoughtless ideas about women, sex and God, that were prevalent in 12th century medieval Christianity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


The arrogance of youth meets the arrogance of power.