Chapter 11: The Way They Govern
Footnote: Capitalist Government
The purpose of government in the capitalist state is to contain its common people within a web of delusion which convinces them that they are free in order to hold them in their state of economic slavery to be exploited by the capitalist elite.
The Power of Information
Compared with other life-forms on this planet, the human has little physical strength or build-in weaponry. Yet it has dominion of the Earth. The power of man lies in his ability to acquire, process and exchange information. This information mainly comprises a mental map of the locality in which he lives, plus a 'cerebral database' of information on each member of his social group or community. It is this information which empowers him to form relationships with his peers. Relationships, in turn, empower him to co-ordinate and direct his relatively little physical strength to overwhelming advantage. To the human being, information is power.
In an egalitarian society, this equips all to live happily ever after. But sadly, some individuals succumb to that basest of human forces - greed. They want control. And the only way to gain control of others is to starve them of information, while holding on to it oneself. In other words - to monopolise information about one's geographic, social and economic environments.
The monopolization of information has been the foundation of power and oppression throughout history. The recipe is simple: isolate individuals from each other, confiscate their land, force them to move to find both work and their needs of life, divide the generations, divide communities into mutually isolated families, and above all, keep each and all ignorant or disinformed about the broader geographic, social and economic picture.
The Threat of Education
Natural curiosity, which is part of the make-up of the human mind, must sooner or later, within any social group, give rise to a system of mass education. This results in knowledge being exchanged between contemporaries and being passed on to the next generation. It puts all knowledge into the minds of the people. Uncontrolled, this presents a serious threat to those who seek to dominate and control society.
The antidote is specialisation. Knowledge must be divided into subjects. Any given individual is then encouraged only to study a narrow set of subjects which are semantically adjacent to each other. Nobody must stray far outside his area of specialisation. If he does, each area of study must be mutually isolated. He must gain no clear path of knowledge to connect them. Modern education is thus a conveyor belt for specialists whose knowledge equips them for little else but to perform their intended function as high-technology cogs within their capitalist master's corporate enterprise.
This is evinced well in a corporate information technology project on which I once worked. It was a permanent gripe, among the different individuals and teams, that nobody ever had a clear picture of what the whole thing was about. In my formative naïvety, I thought this was a result of bad management or operational oversight. I set out to solve the problem. I unilaterally researched and wrote an overview of the project. I was quickly sidelined and shortly found myself 'strongly encouraged to leave'.
It was only years later, in the wisdom of hindsight, that I realised that an overview of what was being built was something which the powers-that-be definitely did not want in the hands of the project teams. Split among separate project teams, the proprietary system knowledge was safe. No person or team had a sufficiently broad view to be able to leave and set up in competition. Nobody had sufficient knowledge to be able to gain control. That is the way they wanted it.
In order to keep knowledge and skill sufficiently fragmented among its "citizens", a modern State must take full control of the dissemination of knowledge. To achieve this, it must establish and finance an education system. It must also selectively control which "citizens" from which social backgrounds have access to which kinds of knowledge.
This selectivity is imposed financially. Grants for first-degree students are now too low to sustain a student through a three-year degree course without covert top-ups from parents or other private means. So a student whose family is poor - however capable that student may be - cannot obtain a degree.
Now, as my own daughter has found, for master's degrees there is no longer State support at all. Though invited by her university to take a master's degree - and desiring to do so and become a lecturer herself - she simply could not proceed. She was forced by lack of money not only to forego the career for which she was undoubtedly best suited, but had to take the first job she could get as a filing clerk in a mental hospital. She could not even afford the time to look for a more suitable and fulfilling job. And being unavailable during working hours, she is cut off from the opportunity of embarking on a full-time systematic search for one.
Clearly, the capitalist State has only two uses for education.
The first is to provide capitalist enterprises with oven-ready human resources with the right types of skill with the right levels of knowledge - and no more. The whole system of formal qualifications is designed specifically for capitalist employers to be able to grade and classify their cogs without having to know what those cogs know.
The second, of course, is to mould the opinions and consciences of the malleable young to conform to those of the establishment. Making education more accessible to the rich is an excellent way of ensuring that those who are most likely to become educated are from the social backgrounds that are most likely to be sympathetic to the status quo.
Education is certainly not primarily for the edification and enlightenment of the individual. Nor is it for the general good and enhancement of society. The political establishment certainly do not want any of the academic elite to stem from the lower ranks of society. They wish to avoid unwittingly to give birth to a cauldron of intellectual Red Lefties who may ultimately orchestrate the collapse of capitalism.
The Threat of Socialism
Unfortunately for the capitalist, this freeing and educating of the masses has enabled the masses to think. This has led them to consider their lot in life. It has opened their eyes to the disparity between their lot in life and that of the capitalist elite and other historically privileged social classes.
The result has been the emergence of a political force called socialism. This has empowered the dispossessed many to assemble and organise themselves into a unified force against those few who possess the economic resources necessary for transforming labour into the needs of life. It is a force which, until recent times, threatened to destroy capitalism. So the capitalist had to find a way to contain and destroy it.
The power of modern transport and telecommunications technology has enabled the masses to maintain their advanced state of self-organisation and hence their political power. This has made it impossible for them to be brought back under the economic yoke of bondage under which they once miserably existed - at least not openly. It had to be done covertly.
The easiest and most effective way to prevent your slave from escaping is to create within his mind the false illusion that he is already free. This is how the capitalist has managed to de-fuse the power of socialism and re-enslave the dispossessed as his poor and willing workers. So the dispossessed worker is a slave but believes he is free. He believes a lie.
The Propaganda War
It is easy to see through a barefaced lie. The dispossessed masses could not be deceived with barefaced lies. It is far more difficult to see through a carefully orchestrated mixture of lies and truth. The taste of goodness is hard to discern while eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. To hide truth, it is necessary to mix it with lies. But this cannot be done easily. It requires much creativity. It demands a broad base of many exacting skills. These must be organised to work in harmony as a single gigantic machine.
To create this illusion of freedom within the mass-mind, the capitalist has therefore built a vast propaganda machine. It employs the latest and best of mass-media communications technology and expertise. To build and operate this machine requires a vast amount of capital. For the socialist to unmask the falseness of the illusion also requires the use of mass-educational and communications resources. This likewise requires a vast amount of capital. But whereas the capitalist has capital, an assembly of socialists - however large - has only what can be spared out of the minimal wages its members receive from their capitalist master.
The capitalist's propaganda and mass-communications machine is thus destined to be far larger, more powerful and ultimately more effective than anything within the reach of socialist causes. Assisted by expertise and technology, which only it can afford, capitalism - no matter how false and deceitful its message may be - is bound to be the winner of the battle for the mass-mind of the people within any nation-state in which it holds sway. Lack of resources renders socialism a lost cause.
The Great Spin-Machine
Those who have, work not. Those who work, have not. And part of the work of the 'have-nots' creates the wealth, that powers the machine, that sustains their illusion of freedom, within their reality of servitude.
A universal illusion permanently shrouds the popular mind. It is a web of deceit that is spun and re-spun continually by the capitalist elite of each nation-state. Its purpose is to preserve the rule of corporate totalitarianism within the framework of representative democracy. The instrument through which this web is woven is a vast propaganda machine owned and directed by this capitalist elite. The form of this insidious machine is something like this:
The process performed by this spin-machine is initiated by the capitalist minority. The capitalists possess capital. And under the rules of capitalism, this means that all of the remaining majority of society - all who have no capital - owe them a debt. This debt is a debt of labour, of materials, of food, of favours and respect.
Essentially, however, this debt can only be paid in the form of labour. Most people are thus - according to the laws of a capitalist state - born into the world with a life-long debt of labour to this capitalist elite. The capitalist, on the other hand, is not born with a debt. He is born with a credit. It is therefore the capitalist who chooses how, and in what form the debt must be repaid. And labour is forever a buyers market. Labour is always easy to buy and always hard to sell.
The process unfolds as follows. A nation's capitalist interests first collectively set up a policy think tank of people who repay their debt of labour by using their mental skills to think up tangible policies that will expedite the capitalists' political philosophy of unlimited private acquisition. Next this capitalist minority forms itself into a political party. This is financed both individually and collectively by the members of this capitalist minority themselves. The party then composes a manifesto, which details how - once in power - it intends to expedite the policies formulated by their political think tank.
From the manifesto, the party members then produce an election plan. This they pass to one or more firms of policy marketing people, called spin-doctors, who translate the manifesto into an illusion with which to delude the general public. This takes shape as a set of 'sound bites' and other mass-marketing devices, which are easily digested by a simplistic 'public mind'. Naturally, the proprietors of these marketing firms are themselves capitalists. They therefore undoubtedly support the political cause of capitalism professionally and materially as well as financially.
The output from the spin-doctors is then skilfully passed to the public mass-media (newspapers, magazines, billboards, television and others) for injection into the public mind. Here it takes root, forming and shaping the nation's collective conscience. Since the majority of these mass-media operations are driven by private capital, they supplement the messages of their political party by subjecting their readerships to a constant drip-feed of politically opinionated features and editorials. The public mind is thus constantly infused with the false illusion that the policies that best aid the capitalist in his quest for unlimited selfish acquisition are also the only policies that can improve the quality of life of the labourer.
Some of the party members then put themselves forward as candidates for election to 'represent' the general population within each respective geographic subdivision of the country. They preach the benefits of the capitalist way to the capital-less masses who, having been relentlessly drip-fed their message by carefully orchestrated mass-media indoctrination, vote them into power with an overwhelming majority. They thus become the 'elected' government.
Having thus acquired the mandate to do so, they expedite their capitalist policies by enacting laws that increasingly reward the rich at the expense of the poor. Their joint-stock limited liability companies consequently achieve higher profits. These forever swell the capital of their proprietors, while depriving their capital-less labourers of all but their minimal subsistence.
And so the wheel turns. Capital increases and becomes concentrated in the hands of a shrinking minority, each of whom becomes increasingly powerful. This minority is consequently able to finance a progressively larger and more effective spin-machine with which to shape and control the views and opinions of a gullible public. Thus from the misery of his suburban existence, the labourer becomes so convinced of his freedom that he vigorously defends the principles, policies and practices of those who are his enslavers. He becomes so convinced, in fact, that - should the opportunity ever arise - he will leap at the chance to become a
petty capitalist himself.
The final irony is that it is the hard work of the labourer himself that creates the revenue - from which the capitalist takes his profit - that ultimately fuels the very machine by which the labourer is held in his state of delusion.
The greed of capitalism probably causes much more economic damage and suffering in less developed countries. These are often referred to as banana republics or republiquetas. Here, raw materials and primary products are more available and far cheaper. Furthermore, socialistic countermeasures against runaway exploitation are either absent or much less effective.
Republiquetas are frequently recognised as democracies. Some even have world-class economies and comprise federations of many internal States. The societies of republiquetas, however, generally comprise an obscenely wealthy elite in symbiosis with a vast population living in abject poverty. Many also have an emerging reasonably remunerated middle class wedged in between, which provides the technological skills required by the elite in the running of their exploitative enterprises.
Intelligent people invariably arise out of the poor exploited class to attempt socialist revolution of some kind. They can gain overwhelming popular support, even in a vast republiqueta of 200 million people. But since such people do not possess terrestrial resources, they rapidly end up cash-starved and sink back into oblivion.
The demise of any socialist insurgent is exacerbated by encouragement and financial aid provided by the governments of developed countries to maintain the elitist status quo in the republiqueta. The hallmark of interference by foreign agencies is ever-visible in the covert bellical engineering which, against all statistical common sense, seems to maintain a morally-questionable party or individual in power.
The capitalist elites of developed countries have a vested interest in maintaining an elite class in power within a republiqueta. This is so they can freely exploit the natural resources of the territory in return for relatively moderate backhanders. Otherwise they would have to buy, what amounts to the material inheritance of the people, at a fair market price.
Consequently, even though the poverty-ridden people of a republiqueta are voting citizens of what is recognised as a democracy, their votes have no power. Their politicians call themselves and their parties "socialist" but both are in fact capitalistic. They preach one thing and do another. They do what their bribe-paying masters tell them to do: not what the people elected them to do. Even the legal trials of the corrupt are questionable as regards the political bias of the judges.
Sadly, the poor people of republiquetas are, like their first-world counterparts, trapped in the same illusion, woven by the same kind of mass-media spin-machine, financed and operated by their ruthless elites.
The Need To Protect
Having created the illusion of freedom within the public mind, it is vital to protect it from what could easily destroy it. And that potential destroyer is a thing called truth. Should the truth ever break through to the minds of the dispossessed, it would destroy the illusion which holds them in subjection. The capitalist elite - through their puppet governments - must therefore ensure that no means ever acquires existence through which the truth could be subversively channelled to the public mind.
To do this, the capitalist state must maintain a complete monopoly on the:
of all politically relevant social and economic information.
- possession and
Giving away information about oneself in effect grants the recipient a certain increased amount of power over one. But this is not something one will generally do willingly or to just anybody. Market researchers can request information from you. However, you do not have to give it, and you do not have to tell them the truth. Only government can force people to give up any and all types of information about themselves. Only government has a mandate to acquire any and all true and accurate information about the individual.
Furthermore, governments do not actually need to ask the individual concerned for the information they require on him. They can just take it from whoever has it. They can collect information from a diversity of sources, be they official, commercial or social. They can bring together pieces of information, which on their own are trivial, but which when combined build a complete dossier on the person concerned.
Governments even gather information covertly. They capture the copious personal details and conversations naïvely submitted by individuals on their social media profiles. They listen in to telephone conversations and intercept mail. They have clusters of supercomputers at government communications centres trawling the world's data highways for politically or commercially sensitive key words and saving the files which contain them for later human examination. They thus pass on commercially advantageous information on foreign competitors to their capitalist paymasters.
Until the 1990s, the resources required to store and organise socially significant quantities of information on individuals were affordable only by governments and corporations. But the personal computer changed all that. Now the lone individual has the means to build vast databases from which he can gain a statistical overview of industries, market sectors, economies, societies, nations, blocs and alliances - and thereby reveal the hidden agendas of governments and their capitalist puppeteers. The individual now possesses information. Consequently, the individual now has power.
Government's answer to this sudden demise of their monopoly on data storage is the Data Protection Act. This forbids every individual to store, on a computer, information on other individuals unless he is registered under the Act. Registration is expensive. It is above what an average individual can afford, and is way beyond the means of anybody on state welfare like myself. Government exempted itself from the Act. It has firmly placed the monopoly to hold social, economic and political information back in the hands of government, allowing large capitalist corporations to register as holders of commercial and financial information relevant to their businesses.
The Data Protection Act
It was supposedly conceived to protect the individual's privacy and thereby protect him against exploitation by commercial interests. In this it has truly failed. Its hidden purpose is to re-establish the establishment's monopoly of information on its subject populace. In this it has certainly succeeded.
I am not a legal expert. I cannot make an authoritative interpretation of it. Nevertheless, like everybody else, I am subject to it. I therefore have to consider it. I can only consider it in terms of what I perceive it to be to the best of my understanding. And this is my best endeavour at perceiving the essence of the Data Protection Act.
Any person or organisation who stores personal information about other individuals on a computer must register under the Act as a keeper of personal data. To register, one has to pay an annual fee which is beyond what most individuals can afford. As a result, only commercial companies and other organisations can afford to register, and therefore hold personal data on a computer legally.
A registered keeper of personal information is required to reveal, to any individual, all the personal information it is holding about him. For a fee, of course. The individual would thus seem to be protected against any private or commercial organisation holding false information about him. However, the initiative must come from the individual. It is up to him to:
- find out which organisations are keepers of personal information,
- find out which of these are holding information about him,
- contact them and request a copy of the relevant data records,
- pay the appropriate charges,
- specify and prove any errors,
- make, and pay for, another copy of the data to check that it is correct,
- take legal action if the keeper fails to carry out the corrections.
To be sure that no organ of society is feeding off false information being held about him, every individual in the country would have to obtain the registry of all keepers of personal information, and then follow the above procedure for each. This is clearly impractical and unaffordable for almost the entire population. It was clearly not the intent of the legislators that the individual should be privy to the vast amounts of personal information about him which is held by an indeterminate number of faceless organisations.
However, the ultimate Orwellian nightmare takes form in the fact that government has exempted itself from the requirements of the Act. Who knows what this could precipitate in the future from within the departments of a government which may be far less benign than what we have today. Nobody can know what erroneous information some obscure and covert government department may be holding on him.
Doesn't Protect The Individual
The Act is supposedly to 'protect' the individual from having erroneous information on such things as his creditworthiness being propagated throughout the financial world. However, it does not quite work like that, as illustrated by the following scenario which bears essential resemblance to something which actually happened to me.
I am refused credit by a financing company. I ask why. They say that my creditworthiness check has failed. I ask to see the data they are holding about my creditworthiness. Of course I have to pay the access fee for this. They then tell me they do not hold such information. They do credit checks by interrogating a third party database to which they subscribe, and the identity of which they are not allowed to divulge. If I knew who that third party were, I could demand to see the data they are holding about me, but since I don't, I can't. The failure was due to false information being entered about me due to a mix-up between two departments of a large organisation.
A few faceless data barons thus hold all kinds of sensitive information about individuals, who have no practical route to gaining access to their data records. This does not protect the individual from commercial exploitation. It merely helps the commercial establishment to subjugate him even further.
Protects The Establishment
The one concession the Data Protection Act makes is that one is not required to register if the software one is using to store and retrieve the data has no means of selecting individual data records according to personal attributes such as geographic location, gender, race, age, social class. Without such a capability, storing the information on a computer is all but pointless. All database software which one would use for the purpose has built-in selectivity.
When the Act was first passed, I would hear colleagues agonising over whether their computerised Christmas Card lists were subject to it. Since most of their databases provided selectivity on things like geographic area and type of friend or business contact, the data was indeed subject to the Act which many decided to ignore.
I spent 15,000 hours over 8 years developing a marketing database software package. Precision customer targeting was its primary purpose. Consequently it was bristling with selectivity functions. Naturally, it contained information about businesses. Part of this was the name of a person within each business. I remember going into endless speculation as to whether the person's name was personal data or whether is was simply a qualification or attribute of the office that person held within his organisation. In other words, is 'John Smith' personal information or is it simply an adjunct to the office of Managing Director of Acme Services Ltd? After all, it is the Managing Director of Acme Services Ltd that the user of my software is concerned with - be he John Smith, Joe Bloggs, or whoever. The advice I received was that it was a grey area of the law. One may be safe not registering if all personal names referred to employees of a limited liability company as this, as a data subject, had a separate existence in law. But what if the named person is a self-employed trader? Then it is probably personal data. What an absolute pain.
Now, having been unemployed for 10 years, I am far too poor even to consider registration. Consequently and ironically, the computer software I spent an earlier 8 years of my life developing, I am now not even allowed to use - and perhaps not strictly even allowed to possess. Had I been, over this last 10 years, able to hold and process the names and addresses of key contacts in businesses and companies throughout the United Kingdom, then I would probably have been able to find work all by myself the way I used to before the passing of this ridiculous and oppressive piece of legislation.
Before the days of powerful personal computers, governments and large corporates (and those unseen individuals who actually pull the strings) were the only ones with the means to gather, hold and process statistically significant amounts of information. This gave them exclusive power. The personal computer put that power into the hands of the individual, thus removing the establishment's monopoly. Now, because the individual cannot afford the cost and time-consuming bureaucracy of registration, the Data Protection Act has restored that monopoly to the establishment, and the power that goes with it.
Knowledge is Vital
The ability to acquire, process and exchange information is vital to human life. The most significant of this information is the knowledge we each hold about other members of our social group or community. It is this information which empowers us to form relationships with our peers. Relationships, in turn, empower us to co-ordinate and direct our energies effectively towards the purposes of life. Indeed, some may say, it is our stored personal knowledge about others which makes us human.
In a natural anthropological community, no artificial means is required to enable each of its members to acquire, process and store all necessary knowledge about all its other members. In the isolation of capitalist suburbia, however, the natural means of human interaction have been severed and destroyed. Artificial means must replace them. People rarely meet face-to-face any more. They mostly do business or seek work by telephone, fax and email. Lacking the immense bandwidth of face-to-face contact, these artificial media of communication need the backup of artificial means of information acquisition, storage and manipulation - in particular the computerised database. Without this, the human individual cannot keep track of so many faceless voices and voiceless verbiage.
An Inalienable Right
In consequence, I hold it to be self-evidently true that the individual has the inalienable right unconditionally to seek, accumulate and hold, any amount and kind of knowledge or information, and to store, process and retrieve that knowledge or information freely and by any means. I hold such knowledge or information, and the means of its preservation, to be an inseparable part of the individual to whom it belongs.
Of course, I am not against specifying restrictions as regards how the individual may use the information he holds. He should not be allowed to use it in acts which violate the basic rights of others. For example, it should not be used in a way which would violate another individual's right to privacy. To this end, the individual should not have licence to release sensitive information on others into the public domain or to other private parties, where to do so could cause harm to the data subject.
The most important thing, which has to be done to protect the illusion of freedom in the public mind, is to control the means by which information is disseminated. Any thinking person who might stumble upon the truth has to be prevented from gaining access to the public mind. His 'friends, Britons and countrymen' have to be prevented from 'lending him their ears'. An effective barrier must be built.
Within an anthropological community, free speech has a natural and direct channel. One is in close physical and social proximity to any and all of one's neighbours. If one has something socially significant to say, then one can 'preach' in the city gate, and any who wish to hear can come and listen. Capitalism's answer to this came by default. Industrial capitalism destroyed the anthropological community by requiring the dispossessed to gravitate into cities to be near its factories and offices. Individuals found themselves away from their natural peers and cut off from their elders. They became isolated in labyrinthine housing estates with no centres of gathering other than the local supermarket car park. One could no longer air one's view at the city gate. It wasn't there any more. In any case, nobody would listen. They wouldn't know who you were. The barrier to peer-to-peer and peer-to-community communication was thus established and held firmly in place.
Then along came radio. People could speak and others could listen - at a distance, in the sanctuary of their private rooms. But the government soon put a stop to that. It passed a Telecommunications Act. Until the 1990s (or may be a bit earlier), only the BBC was allowed to broadcast at all. Radio amateurs were allowed to transmit and receive. But they were subject to Draconian restrictions regarding what they could and could not talk about. There was no such thing as citizens band radio until the government was eventually forced to give in under international pressure. People were even restricted as to what they were allowed to listen to! Even now, all that deregulation has achieved is a vast increasing number of commercial stations all pumping out the same puerile programming.
Intellectual access to the public mind is even today available only through two broadcasting organisations - the BBC and Channel 4. Any ordinary person can make themselves heard through these leviathans of broadcasting only if the establishment concerned approves of their being heard and the content of what they want to say. These are no channels of free speech - not, that is, unless you are rich, famous and conventional.
The same is true of the other mass-media. The entire national press is politically driven and opinionated. It is a prime instrument of the powers-that-be for controlling the public mind and upholding its illusion of freedom within the bonds of slavery. It prints only what it - and its masters - want the public to read. The book industry also will only give voice to what it perceives to be acceptable to its market. It is there to make a profit. Hence it publishes only what the majority is likely to buy. Even the scientific press will not publish what does not conform to current thinking in each given subject. You never see any anti-capitalist economic theories aired in the respected financial journals. You never see creationist views expressed in any of the mainstream journals of science.
The right to freedom of speech is effective only for the rich. For the poor, free speech is part of the illusion. The only channel of political expression available to the common man is through his so-called democratic prerogative. But this too is false.
The illusion of individual freedom, which the capitalist propaganda machine projects into the popular mind, goes under the name of 'democracy'. The supposed safety of this so-called 'government of the people by the people' is captured well in a popular quotation which paraphrases something like...
You can fool most of the people some of the time
You can fool some of the people most of the time
You may fool most of the people most of the time
But you can't fool all of the people all of the time
But the sad truth is, you don't need to. All you have to do to get your way is to fool more than half of the people at election time. And this happens no more than once every 4 or 5 years (depending on which so-called Western democracy you live in). With their invincible mass-media propaganda machine, the capitalist elite minority has no trouble fooling at least 50% of the common people during the brief run-up to each election.
You would think that to gain a democratic majority you would need more than 50% of the electorate to vote for you. Not so.
I have never been democratically represented. The member of parliament for my area has always been a staunch Tory. His views are the diametric opposite from mine. Whenever I enter into correspondence with him, I get the typical meaningless politician's reply which has no value whatsoever.
The country is divided into small geographic areas called constituencies. The population within each votes for a member of parliament to represent them. Not all constituencies are home to the same amount of people. Therefore some MPs represent a lot of people. Others only represent a few. The constituencies with large populations are predominantly industrial areas where the majority are members of the so-called 'working class'. Those with small populations are predominantly countryside and commuter belt areas. These are home to landowners, farmers and professional commuters.
As a result, there are more working class people per MP representing them than there are professional class people. Professionals are therefore better represented in Parliament than labourers. It therefore requires far less than 50% of the professionals to vote in a majority government, whereas it requires far more than 50% of working class people to vote in a majority government representing them.
Not exactly what one could call fair.
The Fallacy of Democracy
Democracy is government of the people by the people. It demands and requires a morally educated population. It can be fair and equitable only when each person is equally informed and adept in matters affecting society, and votes on every issue according to what, in clear conscience, he judges to be best for the common good.
The reality, however, is that most people are not experts in matters affecting society, and each in fact votes according to what he perceives will best fulfil his own personal self-interest. It is government of the people by a selfish majority who, rather than judge issues responsibly, simply follow like sheep the elitist political opinion vomited upon them daily by the great spin-machine. The result is that, in order to provide the selfish majority with the slightest betterment, any minority can, by default, end up suffering undeserved misery.
An example of this is the savings limit penalty imposed upon the poor. It is seen as saving public money, which is in turn seen as a prelude to reducing tax for the majority taxpayer. But such selfishness always takes a short-term view. In fact, the savings limit penalty locks the poor into poverty by preventing them from accumulating the means of getting themselves off welfare dependency back into economic self-sufficiency. The taxpayer thus ends up supporting them forever. Selfishness is always counter-productive in the long run.
In any case, in modern capitalist so-called 'democracies', the ordinary citizen is not even permitted to vote on specific issues. His only 'democratic' prerogative is to vote for whichever of two or three political personalities he wishes to represent him and his interests within a ridiculously small assembly of individuals who will vote on specific issues on his behalf. If the one he voted for does not get elected, then his interests are represented in that assembly by one whose views are probably the very opposite of his own. Therefore, as an individual, he is not truly represented.
Furthermore, the person who represents him is invariably from a minority upper/middle class of elite-educated lawyers. Their incomes, life-styles and social connections isolate them culturally and economically from most of those they govern. They have no common context of life experiences against which to understand the lot of the poor and unemployed. This is true even of those who may have hailed from working class origins. They as individuals are no longer immersed in a working class context. It no longer impinges upon their daily lives. All the intricate daily ramifications of its hardships and constraints rapidly evaporate from their memories.
Yet they have the omnipotent power to enact laws which affect exclusively the poor and unemployed. An example is the savings limit penalty mentioned previously. Those who enacted it have no experience of its effects and ramifications upon the life of somebody like me. They simply have no mental context within which to model its effects upon the lives of those upon whom it is forcibly imposed.
This is not democracy. At best it serves majority self-interest; at worst, it is the idle admiration of a political celebrity. Despite this, the capitalist elite has always managed to sell it as 'true democracy' in which the dispossessed individual is convinced that he has freedom, control, opportunity and property. Thus from the misery of his suburban existence, the labourer becomes so convinced of his freedom that he vigorously defends and - where opportunity presents itself - practices the principles and policies of those who enslave him.
Western 'representative' democracy is not true democracy. It is simply a mechanism for expediting majority self interest. It is a Tyranny of The Majority. Since the mind of this majority is shaped by the mass-media propaganda machine of an elite minority, it is really a Tyranny of The Elite. It is their means of subjugating the masses. This is no different from the ancient feudalism from which this 'democracy' supposedly freed us.
Democracy can work. But for it to do so, two conditions must be met.
Everybody must judge each issue in the light of the common good. Any judgement must be resolved so that not one individual is harmed or oppressed by it. This requires unconditionally that each must 'love his neighbour as himself'.
Additionally, everybody who is governed must be personally known by those who govern. In other words, everybody must know everybody else, including their particular circumstances, strengths, weaknesses and difficulties. Everybody must share a common socio-economic context.
The field of influence of the true democratic process cannot therefore extend beyond the bounds of the natural anthropological community. Inter-community affairs must be governed by a different protocol.
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©Sep 1995, Apr 2016, May 2017 Robert John Morton