29 October 2010

Article: Germans are increasingly anti-democratic

On 27 October 2010, the Czech English-language weekly newspaper "The Prague Post" published on its website an op-ed article by Nora Langenbacher titled "Germans are increasingly anti-democratic".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "[T]he German nonprofit institution Friedrich Ebert Foundation places great emphasis on combating anti-democratic, racist and xenophobic tendencies. [...] Of central concern to the foundation is the existence of anti-democratic and racist attitudes among the general public. [...] A recently published study [in German] conducted by us, an organization committed to social democracy, once again highlights [...] that right-wing extremist thought is not merely a problem of 'the margins of society.' Instead, the scientists found widespread acceptance of chauvinistic, social Darwinist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic statements as well as shocking agreement with the idea of dictatorship generally as well as with aspects of the German National Socialism in particular. For example, more than one out of 10 interviewees in the study wished for 'a "Führer" to rule Germany with strong leadership,' and almost every 10th person said, 'For Germany's national interest, a dictatorship might be a better form of government.' [...] This widespread general resignation regarding democracy as it exists and the feeling of having no political influence whatsoever combined with the rise in right-wing attitudes reveals a dramatic challenge for German politics and society."

It is not mentioned whether the article appeared in print too.

Nora Langenbacher, a political scientist, coordinates the "Combating Right-Wing Extremism" project of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

28 October 2010

Article: Mikhalkov Takes Jab at Medvedev

The Russian English-language daily newspaper "The Moscow Times" today published on its website a report titled "Mikhalkov Takes Jab at Medvedev" by staff writer Alexander Bratersky.

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Nikita Mikhalkov, the Oscar-winning film director and a monarchist with close ties to the ruling elite, set the political classes chattering Wednesday with the release of a nearly 10,000-word political manifesto [in Russian] promoting 'enlightened conservatism.' The document, written in a flowery language and titled 'Right and Truth,' attacks Western-styled democracy in an indirect dig at President Dmitry Medvedev, but stops short of outright condemning the capitalist reforms of the past two decades. 'Euphoria of liberal democracy has come to an end. Now it is time to do the job,' Mikhalkov said in the manifesto, copies of which were provided to 'state leaders,' Ekho Moskvy radio reported. The manifesto, which cites pre-revolutionary conservative thinkers such as Pyotr Struve and Konstantin Pobedonostsev to support its theses, describes the current state of affairs in the country as 'a mix of West-chasing liberal modernization, nepotism of local authorities and widespread corruption.' [...] The manifesto caused a flurry of reactions but left many politicians and analysts skeptical [...]. A self-proclaimed monarchist, Mikhalkov has made a number of political U-turns in the past. He voiced support for former Vice President Alexander Rutskoi, a friend who staged a failed coup against Yeltsin in 1993, but then campaigned for Yeltsin's Our Home Is Russia party [...] just two years later."

I can't figure out whether the article appeared in print too.

18 October 2010

Article: China model as alternative to democracy

The news portal "The Malaysian Insider" today published an article by its reporter Yow Hong Chieh titled "Dr M promotes China model as alternative to democracy".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Former prime minister [of Malaysia] Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called democracy a 'failed' ideology and held up China's model of authoritarianism as an alternative 'worth studying'. He said China's political model [...] showed that a nation could develop well even in the absence of freedom, liberty and equality [...]. 'If you find good people to run a country, even dictators can make a country develop and develop very well.' [...] The former premier also criticised the very premise of democracy, arguing that no issue could achieve total consensus, leading to an electoral split that will promote poor governance. 'Democracy ... has failed in many countries,' he said. 'It is not the perfect thing it is touted to be. You find that some of these democracies really cannot work. People cannot make up their minds.['] [...] 'We see a lot of democracies where leaders change every two years and the country cannot make any progress at all,' he said. 'Even the countries that have made progress find sometimes that democracies hinder the development of the country, make the country unstable and difficult to develop.'"

17 October 2010

Article: What Checks and Balances in a Democratic Dictatorship?

One M. Rafic Soormally, apparently based in London, is credited as the guest author of a blog post titled "What Checks and Balances in a Democratic Dictatorship?", published on 14 October 2010 on the website of the bilingual (French and English) Mauritian daily newspaper "Le Matinal".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Debates are presently raging on what to do with the presidential system imposed on Mauritians. The [...] system of political control is not an invention of democracy, and people are being grossly misled. [...] Majority rule must necessarily command over 50% of the votes but this is hardly the case in any so-called democracy. In practice, a minority almost always rules through a process of 'buying' votes through electoral promises and unspeakable forms of corruption perpetrated by a capitalist system wherein less that 10% of the population owns over 90% of the wealth. Moreover, people are forced to vote for candidates selected by political parties and not by them. Democracy is a most manipulative, infectious and lying political system controlled by powerful lobbies and is a [sic] most war-mongering system the world has ever known through the perpetration of terror, invasions, occupations, land theft, decimation of whole populations and the use of weapons of mass destruction such as Nuclear Bombs (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fallujah), Agent Orange and Napalm (Vietnam), Phosphorous Bombs (Palestine), Cluster and Uranium Bombs and Biological Weapons (Iraq, Afghanistan), and more. [...]

"Adolph Hitler, George Bush, Tony Blair, Benjamin Netanyahu, Nicolas Sarkozy have all been 'democratically' elected but they all act/ed like dictators. [...] In theory, the US Constitution guarantees the Separation of Powers between the three branches of government [...]. In practice, there is overwhelming evidence that all three branches do act in concert as they are dictated by the same powerful lobbies, for example, in decisions to embark on false flag operations, to pass dictatorial laws and make wars, not to mention that the US is still a very racist country built upon the genocide of the Native Americans. The US is still torturing people they kidnapped and transported to Guantanamo Cuba, Diego Garcia Mauritius and elsewhere, and all checks and balances are non-existent. The President effectively has dictatorial powers [...]. The notion of checks and balances has become just another myth in most modern democracies. The strategy is to find ways to dominate the people, and the world. [...] The Mauritian President is a symbol of dictatorship as, like the British Queen, he is above the law too."

09 October 2010

Article: Russia's Machiavellian support for democracy

The Madrid-based "European think tank for global action" Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) has released its latest "Policy Brief", "Russia's Machiavellian support for democracy" (no. 56, October 2010), authored by FRIDE researchers Natalia Shapovalova and Kateryna Zarembo.

The article can be downloaded free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Russia has been labelled as an 'autocracy promoter' in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region. Colliding with EU and US democracy promotion efforts, Russia has supported anti-democratic regimes among the CIS countries. Yet it is also showing another, curious face as an avid democracy promoter. Russia has contributed to the subversion of pro-Western regimes in Georgia and Ukraine and supported authoritarian Belarus for years. However, Russia does not only show its discontent with democratic leaders. Undemocratic ones do not gain its approval either, if their policies are not in line with Russian interests and demands. [...] Russian policies in the neighbourhood adopt democracy promotion rhetoric when it is deemed effective for geopolitical reasons. [...] This does not mean that Russia is heading towards democratisation; rather, it points to its ability to employ different tactics, from promoting autocracy to supporting democracy [...]. The democratisation agenda can become a pernicious weapon in the hands of an autocracy. [...]

"Russia's democracy promotion toolbox varies, just as Western aid to democracy does. Russia alternately withdraws financial aid; imposes trade sanctions; supports opposition or pro-democracy NGOs; launches a media campaign against authoritarian rulers; and calls for democratic elections. [...] The pattern of Russia's strategy towards its neighbourhood is clear: the West's democratisation discourse and agenda are deployed in order to change leaders that are strong but disloyal to Russia [...]. The Kremlin tries to make sure that competition among domestic leaders is as fierce as possible, thus disuniting the elites and securing an easy grip on power and assets for itself. In addition, Russia is cast in a favourable light by being seen to cooperate with the West [...]. Such democracy promotion by Russia can also be viewed as part of Russia's strategy of redefining the notion of democracy. Both at home and abroad, Russia does not deny the imperative of democracy as such. Rather, it insists on its own interpretation of democracy and selectively criticises the democratic credentials of others, mainly in order to divert external criticism away from itself or to put pressure on unfriendly political regimes."

Albeit a policy brief, the article is sorely lacking in supporting references.

08 October 2010

Book: The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life

Just published: Kenneth Minogue, "The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life" (Encounter Books, August 2010):


Publisher's description: "One of the grim comedies of the twentieth century was the fate of miserable victims of communist regimes who climbed walls, swam rivers, dodged bullets, and found other desperate ways to achieve liberty in the West at the same time as intellectuals in the West sentimentally proclaimed that these very regimes were the wave of the future. A similar tragicomedy is being played out in our century: as the victims of despotism and backwardness from third world nations pour into Western states, the same ivory tower intellectuals assert that Western life is a nightmare of inequality and oppression. In The Servile Mind [...], Kenneth Minogue explores the intelligentsia's love affair with social perfection and reveals how that idealistic dream is destroying exactly what has made the inventive Western world irresistible to the peoples of foreign lands. The Servile Mind looks at how Western morality has evolved into mere 'politico-moral' posturing about admired ethical causes – from solving world poverty and creating peace to curing climate change. Today, merely making the correct noises and parading one's essential decency by having the correct opinions has become a substitute for individual moral actions. Instead, Minogue posits, we ask that our government carry the burden of solving our social – and especially moral – problems for us. The sad and frightening irony is that as we allow the state to determine our moral order and inner convictions, the more we need to be told how to behave and what to think."

Excerpt: "I am of two minds about democracy, and so is everybody else. We all agree that it is the sovereign remedy for corruption, tyranny, war, and poverty in the Third World. We would certainly tolerate no different system in our own states. Yet most people are disenchanted with the way it works. One reason is that our rulers now manage so much of our lives that they cannot help but do it badly. They have overreached themselves. Blunder follows blunder [...]. The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. [...] We should never doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step toward totalitarianism."

Review: "Can democracy survive in a nation of slaves? Aristotle thought not. But what if the slaves don't recognize their servile condition? Kenneth Minogue explores the many ways in which the citizens of the modern West have thoughtlessly exchanged independence of mind and body for government promises of security and harmony. The result is a topsy-turvy democracy where the rulers hold the people to account for their incorrect behavior and attitudes." (John O'Sullivan, Radio Free Europe)

Kenneth Minogue is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics.

07 October 2010

Articles: Pakistan: What price democracy?

The article, "Is honeymoon with democracy over?", by Kamran Rahmat, an Islamabad-based resident editor of the Pakistani daily newspaper "Express Tribune", appeared on 30 September 2010 on the website of the daily newspaper "Gulf Times", operating out of Doha, Qatar.

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Rumours have abounded about the imminent fall of government [....] 30 months after a transition to democracy from a long bout of military rule, the average Pakistani citizen wonders if that is what street battles in 2007 were waged for. [...] At the first glance, it seems to have gone all horribly wrong – the dream of a functional, sustainable democracy replaced by a sense of foreboding and despondency that seems all too familiar. But is it? Is everything really unravelling and devolving to the inevitable last-hope lure of the khakis doing another turn at 'saving' the country? Is all in the country headed for a point of no return that will usher in the much talked about political change; or is this merely a clever perception that is part willingly and part unwittingly being promoted by the media to a point where it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? An independent, pluralistic media that played a spectacular role in mobilising and achieving the transition to democracy was supposed to reflect and strengthen the citizens' aspirations and perspectives after popular governments were in place. And yet turn on a private current affairs TV channel any time of the day and the staple fare is prophecies of doom and predictions of a change.

"Not on a single private TV channel is an assertion of faith (or even hope) discernible any longer in the very democracy that the media had valiantly pushed for in 2007, along with other civil society actors. The honeymoon with democracy for the media seems to be over. Agreed the governments in both the centre and the provinces have been found woefully inept and wanting in delivering the dividends that democracy was supposed to usher in for all and sundry. [...] But what is more transparent than the disappointing performance of the governments and political parties now is the growing sense of entitlement of the media that it is the final arbiter of this performance [...]. For sure, they have a right to offer analysis and venture opinion on what is going on but this can only be based on news and events, not conjecture and theory [...]. This is exactly the kind of milieu that provides a space for the anti-democratic forces to manipulate the media and through it the perceptions that people end up embracing. [...] Instead of focusing on the citizens and their grassroots and street perspectives and being their voice, [...] today's media in Pakistan has gone from being a watchdog of public interest to being a virtual attack dog for undemocratic forces."

An example of this tendency may be provided by an undated column by one Khalid Saleem, "What price democracy?", published recently on the website of the daily newspaper "Pakistan Observer".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Democracy is the buzzword these days. [...] Ever since the then US President, George W. Bush, announced in his message to the Iraqi people on the eve of the Iraq invasion that, 'We are determined to bring (read: thrust-down-your-collective-throats) democracy to your country', the word 'democracy' has become something of a sine qua non in all statements emanating from the West. [...] Our own herd of liberal intellectuals has been weaned on Western propaganda. [...] In their estimation, any person wishing to be counted among those fit to be counted must needs be an admirer of the Western type of democracy or else. [...] Democracy, thus, is at best an over-rated system of government. Hullabaloo about the 'virtues' of democracy appears to have been blown out of all proportion. The Western propaganda notwithstanding, there is hardly any doubt that a system of government can be only as good, or as bad, as those administering it. Given dedicated, honest and well-meaning leaders, any system worth the name would be workable. On the other hand, if the leadership does not measure up, then no form of government will deliver the goods, whether democratic or otherwise! Come to think of it, what matters in the long run is how well a people are governed and not how the government in question came into being."

I can't figure out whether either of these articles appeared in print too.

06 October 2010

Article: Promoting Tyranny

Tisaranee Gunasekara, a Colombo-based journalist, is the author of an article titled "Promoting Tyranny" that was first published on 3 October 2010 (and apparently re-published on 4 October) on the website of the Sri Lankan newspaper "The Sunday Leader".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "[Sri Lankan] President Mahinda Rajapaksa's speech to the UN General Assembly [...] opined that international humanitarian laws should be changed to give states carte blanche to combat terrorism. The Rajapaksa proposal would normalise excess and enable sovereign states to act as they wish, unconstrained by laws and norms, against whomever or whatever they designate 'terrorist'. [...] And in this anti-democratic world, the Rajapaksas would be able to pursue their dynastic agenda, with total impunity. The Rajapaksas [...] face little or no impediment nationally to their single-minded pursuit of absolute and long term power. [...] Being cognizant of the Rajapaksa proposal is important not because the international community will accept it but because it demonstrates the endemically tyrannical nature of the Rajapaksa vision and mission. [...] The successful transformation of a democracy into a family oligarchy requires the creation of a new value system with absolute, unquestioning obedience of the ruled to the rulers as its leitmotiv. Those citizens who refuse to abide by this cardinal rule will be ostracized from the national community. In the present national and international climate what better epithet to justify such persecution as that of terrorist? [...]

"The regime moves with ruthless efficacy against any opponent or act of opposition it deems effective, the incarceration of [former opposition presidential candidate] Gen. Fonseka and the persecution of a printing press owner and his family for printing a poster comparing the President to Hitler being the latest cases in point. The Rajapaksas tend to justify their anti-democratic policies and deeds by flavouring them with nationalistic and patriotic rhetoric. International humanitarian norms are castigated as imperialist constraints on Sri Lanka's right to defend herself and her people. [...] Lofty words hiding an ignoble reality; the regime while incarcerating 8,000 ordinary Tamils as [Tamil] Tiger suspects is treating as estimable guests known Tiger leaders [...]. The real criterion therefore is not whether one was a Tiger or not but whether one is willing to support the Rajapaksas or not. Life can be pleasant for those who are willing to submit to the Rajapaksas and exceedingly unpleasant if not downright dangerous for those who are not, as the curiously similar fates of the 8,000 Tiger suspects and the Army Commander who defeated the Tigers clearly indicate. When national interest is equated with Rajapaksa interest and patriotism with loyalty to the Rajapaksas, any opponent of the Ruling Family can be deemed a terrorist and a traitor and treated as such."

Although not mentioned, it stands to reason that the article was also published in last Sunday's print edition.

05 October 2010

Trend: Africa healthier, wealthier and undemocratic

Clare Byrne, writing for the South African Press Association (SAPA) and the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), is credited with an article, "Africa healthier, wealthier and undemocratic", published on 4 October 2010 on the South African "NewsTime" website.

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Africans are becoming healthier and getting more opportunities to generate wealth. But five decades after most Africans first got a vote, democracy on the continent is ailing, an index of African governance showed Monday. The 2010 Ibrahim Index of African [G]overnance found that access to economic opportunities had improved in 41 out of 53 African countries between 2004/2005 and 2008/2009. In human development terms, Africa had also made strides, with 44 countries showing improvements, particularly in health and social welfare. Yet, despite the economic and social progress, 35 countries had suffered declines in safety and the rule of law, the index showed. There was also bad news in the area of human rights and citizen participation in the political progress, which had worsened in about two-thirds of African countries.

"The index – the first of its kind in Africa – was launched in 2007 by Mo Ibrahim, the multimillionaire Sudanese founder of Celtel, one of Africa's largest mobile phone networks. [...] Eritrea, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritania and Somalia had fallen the furthest. All five were beset by armed conflicts or coups during the review period. Elsewhere, the lack of citizen oversight also meant most governments were not being held to account, the index showed. 'We see the challenge of consolidating democracy and extending it,' [Mo Ibrahim Foundation board member Mamphele] Ramphele, a former managing director of the World Bank said. 'Many citizens on our continent are not active,' she said. At the same time as he launched the index, Mo Ibrahim, a vocal campaigner against corruption, also launched a prize for excellence in African leadership worth over 5 million dollars. The prize has not been awarded in the past two years, after no suitable candidates were found."

The full results of the 2010 Ibrahim Index of African Governance are to be found here:


04 October 2010

Article: The EU is an antidote to democratic governments, argues President Barroso

In a blog article by the conservative eurosceptic UK Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and lead writer of the "Daily Telegraph", Daniel Hannan, published on 1 October 2010 on the website of the newspaper, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, is cited as being critical of democracy ("The EU is an antidote to democratic governments, argues President Barroso", so the title of the article). Unfortunately, the quote and sentiments attributed to Barroso are not referenced by the author.

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Barroso [...] has offered one of the few utterly honest arguments for European integration. The reason we need the EU, he suggests, is precisely because it's not democratic. Left to themselves, elected governments might do all sorts of things simply to humour their voters: 'Governments are not always right. If governments were always right we would not have the situation that we have today. Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong.' This was, in large measure, the original rationale for European unification. The founding fathers had come through the Second World War with – perhaps understandably – a jaded view of democracy. They fretted that, left to themselves, electorates might fall for demagogues. So they deliberately designed a system in which supreme power was wielded by appointed Commissioners who didn't need to worry about public opinion. It would be going too far to describe the Euro-patriarchs as anti-democratic: Robert Schuman had a sincere commitment to the ballot box, even if Jean Monnet hadn't. But it is fair to say that they believed that the democratic process sometimes needed to be guided, tempered, constrained.

"There are still plenty of people who think this way. Whenever I make the case for referendums, someone in the audience objects that the issues are too difficult for the man in the street, that the experts should be allowed to get on, that we are quietly relieved when politicians do what they think is best for us. [...] Most Barrosistas want a kind of moderated democracy, where voters are ultimately in charge, but where experts also have their place. Yet this has been the argument of every tyrant in history: Bonaparte, Mussolini, Salazar, Lenin. It is, mutatis mutandis, the justification of the ayatollahs in Teheran, who allow elections, but empower an unelected commission to step in when people get the result wrong. It is the argument you hear in private from Chinese Communists: yes, people should be free to elect candidates for certain offices, but a country like this would fall apart without the expertise concentrated in our party. [...] Voters, being human, can make mistakes. But it doesn't follow that a class of experts would have made a better decision." (italics removed)

03 October 2010

Article: Why western-style democracy is not suitable for Africa

George Ayittey is the author of a commentary article titled "Why western-style democracy is not suitable for Africa", published on 20 August 2010 on the CNN news website.

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Western-style multi-party democracy is possible but not suitable for Africa. [...] The alternative is to take decisions by consensus. [...] In the early 1990s, following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the winds of change swept across Africa, toppling long-standing autocrats. In our haste to democratize – and also as a condition for Western aid – we copied and adopted the Western form of democracy and neglected to build upon our own democratic tradition. The Western model allowed an elected leader to use power and the state machinery to advance the economic interests of his ethnic group and exclude all others [...]. Virtually all of Africa's civil wars were started by politically marginalized or excluded groups. At Africa's traditional village level, a chief is chosen by the Queen Mother of the royal family to rule for life. His appointment must be ratified by the Council of Elders, which consists of heads of extended families in the village. In governance, the chief must consult with the Council on all important matters. [...] If the chief and the Council cannot reach unanimous decision on an important issue, a village meeting is called and the issue put before the people, who will debate it until they reach a consensus. [...]

"If the chief is 'bad' he can be recalled by the Queen Mother, removed by the Council of Elders, or abandoned by the people, who will vote with their feet to settle somewhere else. [...] Africans could have built upon this system. In the West, the basic economic and social unit is the individual; in Africa, it is the extended family or the collective. The American says, 'I am because I am.' The African says, 'I am because we are.' The 'we' denotes the community. So let each group choose their leaders and place them in a National Assembly. Next, let each province or state choose their leaders and place them in a National Council. Choose the president from this National Council and avoid the huge expenditures on election campaigning that comes with Western-style democracy. Those resources can be better put to development in poor African countries. Next, let the president and National Council take their decisions by consensus. If there is a deadlock, refer the issue to the National Assembly. This type of democracy is in consonance with our own African heritage."

Ghanaian-born George Ayittey is a Distinguished Economist in Residence at American University, Washington, DC, a Research Fellow at the libertarian Independent Institute, and an Associate Scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). In 2008, the magazines "Prospect" (UK) and "Foreign Policy" (US) listed him as one of the "Top 100 Public Intellectuals".

02 October 2010

Book: Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy

Frederick Clarkson, "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy" (Common Courage Press, 1997):


From the publisher's description (on Amazon): "Drawing on years of rigorous research, Clarkson exposes the wild card of the 'theology of vigilantism' which urges the enforcement of 'God's law' and argues for fundamentalist revolution against constitutional democracy."

Review: "Frederick Clarkson's Eternal Hostility provides a chilling road map to a growing movement whose roots go back to the founding days of the country. Clarkson asks the reader to consider what it would be like if having an abortion was punishable by death, if gays and lesbians were thrown into jail, or if our constitutional rights were replaced by biblical law. [...] Chastising liberals and the left for failing to recognize the depth of the threat to liberty, Clarkson argues that we must develop a coherent response to a well-organized effort aimed at overthrowing democracy. When he exposes the aims and strategies of such diverse Christian zealots as the 'Promise Keepers' and the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, remember that [...] Clarkson was also the first to expose how elements of the Christian Right were encouraging the formation of citizen 'militias' almost five years before the Oklahoma City bombing propelled the militia movement into general public awareness." ("Midwest Book Review")

Frederick Clarkson is an independent US journalist and book author.

01 October 2010

Article: On Democracy and Kings

John C. Médaille is the author of an article titled "On Democracy and Kings", which appeared on 15 September 2010 as the first of a series of articles in the fortnightly traditionalist Roman Catholic US newspaper "The Remnant" (43 [15]: no page numbers given).

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "[I]t is clear to me, especially in this late date of our democracy, that it enthrones the will of determined and well-financed minorities, that it dissolves the customs and traditions of the people, and that it has no concern for the future. And a king may indeed be a tyrant, but such is the exception rather than the rule. [...] A king, no less than a president, must consider the forces and interests in his kingdom. But a king is free to judge the justice of the arguments; a president is free only to count the votes. And while the president might attempt to engage in persuasion, in the end he himself can only be persuaded by power, that is, by whoever controls the votes, which is very likely to be the one who controls the money. A king may also be persuaded by power and money, but he is always free to be persuaded by justice. And even when a king is a tyrant, he is an identifiable tyrant; much worse is when a people live in a tyranny they may not name, a system where the forms of democracy serve as cover for the reality of tyranny. And that, I believe, is our situation today. [...]

"Modern democracy has come to mean, in preference to all other possible forms, electoral democracy [...]. Since this democracy is something we are willing to both kill and die for, it assumes the status of a religion, albeit a secular one. Like all religions, electoral democracy has its central sacrament, its central liturgy, and its central dogma; its sacrament is the secret ballot, its liturgy is the election campaign, and its dogma is that the election will represent the will of the people. But is this dogma true in any sense? [...] One might respond that it is the will of the people who cared enough to vote. However, that ignores the fact that there are people (like myself) who care enough not to vote; people who find no party acceptable, or worse, find that both parties are really the same party with cosmetic differences for the entertainment and manipulation of the public. [...] Further, we can ask if a bare majority is actually a sufficient margin for any really important decision, one that commits everyone to endorse serious and abiding actions. For example, should 51% be allowed to drag the rest into war? [...]

"[D]emocracies tend to erode traditions by pandering to current desires. [...] In abandoning the past, democracy also abandons the future. We pile the children with debts they cannot pay, wars they cannot win, obligations they cannot meet [...]. In truth, elections are markets with very high entry costs. [...] Indeed, in the 2008 elections, campaign costs were a staggering $5.3 billion, and that was just for the national races. There are very limited sources for that kind of money, and the political process must, perforce, be dominated by those sources. [...] And why is so much money needed? Because the political arts in a democracy are not the arts of deliberation and persuasion, which are relatively inexpensive, but are the arts of manipulation and propaganda, which are extremely costly. The appeal is almost never to the intelligence, but to raw passion and emotion. The path to power in a democracy, the surest way to ensure the loyalty of one's followers, is to exaggerate small differences into great 'issues.' [...]

"A thing is known by its proper limits, and a thing without limits becomes its own opposite. Thus democracy, sacralized and absolutized, becomes its own opposite, a thinly disguised oligarchy of power which uses all the arts of propaganda to convince the public that their votes matter. There is precedent for this. The Western Roman Empire maintained the Republican form and offices. Consul, quaestor, aedile, and tribune remained and there were hotly contested and highly expensive campaigns for these offices. The army still marched under the banner not of the emperor, but of the SPQR, 'The Senate and People of Rome.' But of course it was all a sham; real power lay with the emperor and with the army and the merchant/landowning classes whose interests he largely represented, while buying off the plebs with the world's largest welfare state. But at least the Romans could see their emperor, could know his name, could love him or hate him. We are not permitted to see our real rulers, and never permitted to name them. The democratic sham covers the oligarchic reality."

The second installment of the series, an article titled "A Real Catholic Monarchy", appeared in "The Remnant" on 30 September 2010 (43 [16]: no page numbers given).

Excerpt: "A modern bureaucrat, in the normal course of his day, exercises more power than a medieval king; the bureaucrat can, with a stroke of a pen, take away your business or your children, thereby making tyranny a sort of daily routine; the bureaucrat's writ does indeed run as law, as long as the proper forms are filled out ..."

The full text of this article is only accessible to subscribers of the paper (available in print or as e-edition).

I was not able to ascertain whether there will be further installments in future issues of "The Remnant".

John C. Médaille is Adjunct Instructor of Theology at the University of Dallas.