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What's wrong with democracy [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2005-6-6 19:49:50 |Display all floors
The U.S Department of State defines  democracy as 'The institutionalization of freedom.' ( It is probably the best definition around, it is at least clear and succinct. It is a definition which is likely to bring a glow to the hearts of the champions of democracy. Yet it is fundamentally flawed. It espouses an idea, freedom, which is at best a moral vacuum. At worst, combined with its cousin capitalism, it provides an intellectual justification of selfishness, greed and exploitation. It is precisely this combination of institutionalized freedom and capitalism which permitted the Western powers to destroy one of the world's greatest civilizations: imperial China.

The champions of democracy look back to ancient Athens as the source of modern democratic virtue. Yet it was the democracy of Athens which judicially executed Socrates, the father of western philosophy. Confucius and Mencius, who were rather more openly critical of their rulers, died peacefully in their beds.

Western democracy resembles the early medieval cathedrals you see all across Europe. They were so poorly built that they had to be propped up by external buttresses. Even then many of them collapsed. Pure democracy, the simple notion of majority rule is such a poor model that it has to be propped up by ideas such as human and minority rights, the separation of powers and so on. It's not so much that these ideas are wrong but that they are not what democracy actually is.

Since the end of World War II, and especially since the election of the current U.S. president, we have seen the emergence of a new and dangerous phenomenon: democracy as religion. The champions of democracy are the new missionaries. So convinced are they that democracy is the only path for all humankind, they seek to impose it on every country in the world. Just as the Spanish Inquisitors burned people for their salvation, the modern missionaries bomb and shoot the innocent in order to bring them freedom. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died at the altar of democracy. Anyone who dares question the singular superiority of democracy is labeled as evil, or at best an apologist for dictators and terrorists.

This onslaught of democracy as religion cannot be overcome by force. It can only be challenged by the presentation of a superior idea. Such an idea exists. It was born in China 2,500 years ago. It is Confucianism. Not the maligned version of Confucianism popular in the West but the real Confucianism to be found in The Analects and especially in the works of Mencius.

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Post time 2005-6-6 20:37:52 |Display all floors

Re: What's wrong with democracy

There are many things wrong with democracy, but it remains the best political system in existence and in history.

Confucianism may have its virtues and advantages, but it is a moral value system, not a governance model...

China is free to take whatever route it pleases. But don't be surprised if you fail to surpass or even catch up with the Western powers with your confusing kongzi-ism.

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Post time 2005-6-6 20:39:40 |Display all floors

Confucianism....bottom line...

not profitable.

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Post time 2005-6-6 22:50:19 |Display all floors

iluv2fish.....that would depend on your definition of profitability, wouldn't it

I'm not religious - that 's one of many things that I love about living in China, freedom FROM religion - but I do recognize the value of the question (and am happy that I learned it):

"What good does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

The real problem, as I see it, is people insisting that there is only one way (Democracy), and refusing to accept other possibilities.  In my opinion, this is exactly the type of thinking that caused modern China so many problems to begin with.  

I don't blame Marx - even though I believe that his economic ideas don't work.  I blame the lack of any other options.  It was going to be all Marx, all the time, and when that failed, there was nothing else to fall back on.

It was Winston Churchill who said something like this: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."  

I've always treated that quote as justification to keep looking for something better.  QUESTION what you know.  If it survives the scrutiny, keep it, if not, trash it.  REGARDLESS, KEEP QUESTIONING IT.

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Post time 2005-6-6 23:31:07 |Display all floors

your alternative?

You make some pretty good points. Democracy as religion being one of them. People stick blindly by this ideology. But when it comes down to it, what is your alternative? The idea that EVERYBODY has a say in government is surely appealing. I, for one, would not give up my right to vote, and its something I feel very priveleged to have.

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Post time 2005-6-7 06:23:56 |Display all floors

Can China be led by a party-less assembly?

The Isle of man has it. The Control Yuan circa 1948 was elected. Now it is an appointed censorate with the ability to issue draft law. Why can't the Procuratorial agencies be elected?

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Post time 2005-6-7 06:56:24 |Display all floors

Democracy certainly has it's flaws.....

But a system where a morality or a religion is forced upon the people is only good for those people who believe in that morality and religion.  The other people are being oppressed.

Chiona does not even have a communist government anymore really since capitalism is rampant.  China has the CCP as a single political party forever in control which is an oligarchy.  Oligarchies suffer the same problems dictatorships do - they do not tolerate dissenting opinion.....

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