Tuesday, 26 June 2012

If not democracy, then what?

As I read the world news and various commentators, I notice a few answering questions to which, by their own admission, they do not have answers.

Part of the secular Western narrative is that democracy fixes all evils and brings us into utopia. When all decisions are made by the people, freedom and liberty will reign.

Unfortunately, across the world that thesis appears to be being falsified:
  • In the West, it appears to be leading to the rule of a permanent managerial class, who are increasingly inexperienced in life outside politics (and thus increasingly unaware of the realities of life outside politics and the effects of their decisions), and increasingly hard to distinguish from one another, who prioritise the demands of their own power-bases over the people at large. Moreover, regardless of who is in power, red, blue or yellow etc., the politicians appear to be progressively bankrupting economies by bribing the greedy voters with their own money, their children's money, and increasingly their grandchildren's money. That's worked out quite nicely for the first generation - but the grandchildren? Big problem ahead...
  • In the "Arab spring" and further east such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, it appears that the net effect has been for strong-men dictators to either cede power to Islamic totalitarians, or for anarchic chaos to take over (e.g. local tribal chieftains all battling out for power and a share of the spoils).

It really appears that universal enfranchisement does not automatically make life better. Indeed, it can make it worse. The "demos", just like the dictator, appear to prioritise short-term and selfish interests over the long-term good of the country as a whole. When the people replace the strong-man as the de-facto God, the ruling principle of society, they also appear to be not up to the task.

Oh dear. What next? If we can't put our faith in "the people" instead of in the solitary strong leader, then whom shall we put our trust in? In Jesus, of course. Whilst man-centred societies will inevitably collapse under the weight of their own pride and folly, the kingdom of the Lord Jesus will last forever. It is not a kingdom based upon worldly principles, but heavenly ones. It does not fight with carnal weapons, but with spiritual ones. And since those weapons are stronger and better, in the end it wins. So there is no cause for despair. Let believes be defensively salt and offensively light in the world, preserving doomed societies from destruction whilst themselves showing a better way. Repentance and faith are not a new political platform; they transcend all political platforms, and will do what political platforms cannot. Let believers trust that Jesus' words, "surely I will be with you - even to the very end of the age" are true, and press on.

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