A new survey finds that two-thirds of Americans can’t name a single Supreme Court justice. This lack of awareness was why Churchill was so down on democracy:
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.
Well, I’m sure the average voter is as up to speed on Medicare and all its current and proposed modifications. Or one can take the stance that a recent commentator took when informed of the voters’ awareness of the members of our highest court:
We are all doomed.
An additional thought that’s sort of related. Before trying to think outside the box we need to be sure we can think inside it.
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”
Well said. But there is not one Democracy. Like all human achievements this form of government has evolved and found several different shapes.
As someone who had to suffer from the consequences of Hitler´s distatorship as a baby, child and teenager, I have become a fan of democracy.
But like all human achievements, also democracy has to be developed and improved. This can be done by learning from each other.
A few suggestions:
– Keep Big Money out of politics. Forbid funding of political parties and politicians by commercial companies, banks etc. and limit individual contributions to, let us say, 1000 dollars per voter. and year.
– Keep lobby groups out of politics
– Parliamentary representatives must be responsible to their voters and not to their respective parties or lobby organisations.
– Why not have a permanent all-party government like the Swiss.
– All politicians at all levels should be removed and replaced by their voters whenever they break rules.
– Give as little power to any politician as possible, except in emergency situations.
– Keep Religion out of politics.
– Allot equal media coverage to all competing politicians and parties.
– Learn from the Scandinavians. Their democracies are not perfect, but the best available.
– Watch Beethoven´s opera Fidelio and Puccini´s opera Tosca.
I am currently in Sweden where the rifts between the political parties are small, and many parliamentary votes are taken consensually.
Some people suggested that voters would have to pass a neutral test in which they should prove that they know the basic rules of democracy and the basic programs of the various parties. I favor this idea although it contradictes the rule: one person, one vote. Platon suggested to have state ruled by philosophers. We should have a little of that, although it is difficult to define what a philosopher is.
To be honest, I could not name with certainty more than one current member of our supreme court, and I am not really sure whether he is still in office.
***one person, one vote** Is proof of citizenship necessary??? Seems we’re eliminating that here. Proof of life???…, or should dead people keep voting.
German man, I do not think that the concept of democracy is applicable in its pure state in any country and at any time if compared to the greek ideal.
It is not realistic to believe that an ideal democratic or socialist state can exist. If not all, but most humans are corruptible, and after this, what can we expect?
I think that you are a typical eurocentrist, or (excuse my neologism) westernocentrist.
I am sorry for your suffering as a baby, but there are a’lot of Hitlers in the present time, the difference is that they kill poor people from villages in Africa, rather than wealthy ones. As Dr Kurtzman posted once… how much does a life cost? And then I wonder, which genocide is worse?
As someone who had to suffer from the consequences of Hitler´s distatorship as a baby, child and teenager, I have become a fan of democracy. ——-> I can not be sorry for you, if you are able to enjoy opera.
Oh Lord, protect us from our leaders.
The advantage of democracy is that elected leaders usually are removed from their positions within foreseeable time. Others stay for decades like Franz-Joseph of Austria who ruled from 1848 to 1916. He is chiefly responsible for World War I.
The list of wise not elected leaders in history is short. Among the prominent ones only one enters my mind: Marcus Aurelius http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius He forbade bloodshed in the arenas. Gladiators had to fight with wooden swords.
Another wise ruler was Karl August of Weimar (1757 – 1858) who, encouraged by his mother Anna Amalia, sponsored Goethe, Schiller and other crerative minds. He made Goethe minister of practically everything, including minister of war. Goethe halved the military budget.
Another wise ruler was Ludwig II of Bavaria who was a social reformer, had anachronistic fairy castles built and sponsored Wagner. He hated his Prussian uncles and cousins. Under his rule the Bavarian army was unable to stage military manoevres due to lack of ammunition. Ludwig was declared unfit to rule and deposed by the Bavarian establishment, then possibly shot dead when trying to flee.