Democracy’s “failure” from another perspective – a rebuttal. In the Jan. 24, 2008 edition of The Eastern Progress, Ben Kleppinger commented on the recent presidential election in Kenya where the representative of the majority party won reelection in spite of his ebbing popularity.
In his column, Mr. Kleppinger claimed that the election in Kenya provided a stunning example of the failure of democracy. He supported this claim by comparing democracy to “miracle weight-loss drugs” peddled to us on infomercials. Additionally, he insisted that the climate of enthusiasm for democracy exists because “it has been rammed down our throats as the best solution in every scenario, regardless if it actually works.”
I would like to begin my retort by agreeing with Mr. Kleppinger in that direct democracy is a terrible form of government. When all issues are decided by a direct vote from the people, many significant problems arise. The rise of “mob-rule”, “urban rule” and the votes of the ignorant being equally valued as the votes of the informed leads to a very unfavorable and inefficient system of government.
Thomas Jefferson even agreed with Mr. Kleppinger when he said that direct democracy merely trades one despot for countless despots. However, when people say “democracy,” they typically refer to a democratic republic, where a direct democracy is combined with a representative government.
In this government, people elect representatives to decide governmental issues on their behalf. As a result, the fewer representatives are privy far more information on issues than common people get from “info-tainers” such as cnn or fox. This typically leads to faster, more informed decisions.
While never perfect, the democratic republic is still superior to stifling socialism, oppressive despotism, and impossible Marxism (which so far has proven to be despotism in a prettier package) in that it more directly promotes the will of the people, and allows the ambitious and hardworking to succeed over the mediocre and the lazy.
Socialist, and despotic governments fail to promote these same ideals with the same vigor.
Revisiting the problems in Kenya, there may be weak links in both their electoral process and their system of checks and balances. However, compare their “democracy” to a bike. If the factory chain keeps breaking, the best solution is to get a stronger chain, not tossing out the bikes. Retorts are welcome.