Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The idol of democracy

Previous posts: one, two

Two quotes from Winston Churchill (courtesy of Google and quotedb.com)
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
In contemporary political discourse, democracy is a sacred cow. It's not enough to believe that, on the whole, generally, it's better than the other options. We are also required to believe, on pain of being suspected of being an insane fascist, that democracy is a panacea to usher in the next golden age. If we can bring about more choice, bring power closer to the people, and so on, then all our problems will be solved.

I've been arguing that such uncritical enthusiasm is unbiblical. There's no reason why a large number of sinners will make a wiser choice than a small number of elite sinners. Democracy seems to have a unique ability to bring the unqualified to power. At least the leader of a military coup has shown some ability to be in charge of something. On the other hand, consider the two main contenders for the Democratic Party (!) nomination for the US presidency. You don't have to be be particularly pro- or anti-Democrat to notice that there's no way these two people can be the two most qualified Democrats to become US president. The Democratic party is able to command the support of approximately half of the US electorate. Getting the Democratic ticket is like getting half-way to the White House - the most powerful job in the world. Democracy, though has given us as the two remaining contenders a remarkably inexperienced pair.

Surely, there are some Democrats who have the kind of multi-decade track record in running large enterprises of some kind that you might think should be an essential qualification before even being even considered as slightly suitable to head up the most powerful nation on earth. What happened to those talented "Democrats"? "Democracy" happened to them. Quite ironic!

Now, what does the Bible say?

To be continued...

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