Although I recognize no form of governance for my personal life other than obedience to nature’s requirements for symbiosis, given the culturally evolved tendency of humans to collect themselves in groups too large and dense to provide for their own health and welfare, I see democracy to be the most fair way yet devised for people to govern themselves to approximate a life least governed — most personally determined. That said, I would put many limits on democracy to maintain what little efficacy it affords, most of which involve the quantity governed to maintain the quality of life of its adherents.
Western civilization is a prime example of the abuse of quantity to the detriment of quality from groups too large to be equitably governed to governance too imposing for the exercise of their free will. The size of the population creates problems with the idea of democracy being a representative system by virtue of having to choose complete strangers as representatives giving rise to only those who can afford advertising to make themselves appear to be less a stranger. Once money becomes the major factor, democracy is indistinguishable from the feudal system of royalty and peasants — hardly representative at all. In control of the rich, such groups take on the characteristics of corporations’ hostile take over of other groups with the top executives lining their silver pockets with the end product of those whom they claim to serve, the bottom line.
The oxymoron of being dictated to by ones servants has come to be known as the struggle of politics, the sport in which one team is manned by the owners of the stadium and wannbes who want a stadium of their own one day, the Suits versus the Skins, the other team peopled by those who would just as soon not be playing the game at all, but do, to preserve any semblance of individual lives and free will if they want to continue life in the arena of western civilization. The mascots of the two teams have changed over the years – Royals vs peasants, Lords vs Commons, Management vs Labor, Haves vs Have-nots, Right vs Left – until the present where it seems to be Capitalists vs Socialists. Being a product of the present, I am most familiar with these latter teams having played on both in action and sympathy. Neither represent absolutes since capitalism requires the product of the people and socialism requires the resources of the rich to distribute wealth fairly – neither could exist without the other. Nothing wrong with either unless the bugaboo of unlimited quantity of control on either side destroys the quality of life in the balance of their dynamic.
Control requires acquiescence through fear or addiction on the part of the controlled at least as much as the heartless willingness to treat ones fellow man as fodder to feed a greed for ultimate control by exploiting such weakness. The only way to corner the market is to convince everyone of their inability to provide the latest “necessity of life” for themselves. I have never lived in a group under Socialist control, and may have only rarely witnessed the balance of the two. Only in my adulthood have I become aware of the perversions of democracy in the control of berserker capitalism.
As a younger man I was enthralled by Ayn Rand’s Objectivism in its fierce championing of the individual and insistence that her fellow humans realize their own individual potential before considering themselves to have anything of benefit to offer society other than another hole in its pocket. I have never understood the willingness of socialists to call her a champion of the greedy, exploitive excesses of capitalism. But every side needs a boogie man I suppose, and rampant capitalism has a plethora of such anathema.
I have recognized how the inherited power of royalty through the artifice of marriage has evolved into the inherited power of money through the artifice of merger once corporations were declared individuals eligible for all the rights of a fellow human. I have witnessed how the commons have become further separated from the lords when viewed as the poor and the rich in today’s perfected abuse of capitalism’s profit motive. Other than hunting or husbanding ones own food the variety of human endeavors find incentive in the profit with which to purchase food and culturally acquired tastes for a quality of life which one feels unfit or unwilling to grow or create for oneself. Land and factory ownership provides resources which the labor of the foodless may convert into products in exchange for tokens to be used to purchase the very food and products their labor just provided. I know, I know, when stated in such plain words, capitalism sounds like just another con game in control of owners.
Ah, the crux of ownership, the evolution of nature’s territorial imperative, when combined with imperial greed and irresponsible indolence results in the overwhelming majority of modern suffering. The stair steps of status in a class society are built as much from lack of personal responsibility as from exploitation of such lack on the part of those willing to claim ownership.
On paper socialism would appear to be the ideal arrangement for the sharing of profitable prosperity until the demands of the indolent suffocates the productivity of the potent and economy becomes a deficit to all.
On paper the system of capitalism would appear to be the ideal arrangement for cooperative prosperity until profits create such a gulf between the poor and the rich that envy and greed come to loggerheads and we get strikes, martial law and international warfare as human potential gluts and drains humanity in one fell swoop.
It is a chicken and the egg conundrum as to whether irresponsibility encourages exploitation or domineering greed enslaves craven servitude, but it certainly describes the imbalance that destroys our potential for cooperatively shared peace. The willingness to be carried is no more innocent than the willingness to cripple, but there you have it. Maybe.