20 November 2015

so called modern democracy

Part of the problem with current democracies is inherited. As all systems adapt and evolve they are often left burdened with artifacts left over from the systems they replace, long after these artifacts become unnecessary or irrelevant. Human systems are not immune. We  see this looking back through history and there is no reason to believe that we’ve somehow broken free from this effect today.

The public’s relation to our modern leaders, and the space that we create and allow for leadership, seems to me to be a good example of this. In these terms, so called modern democracies aren’t too removed from the royal courts that they evolved from.

We now have groups selected not by their birthright (so much), but by one or another system of voting, to make important decisions on behalf of the public. Yet apart from the method of selection, the new formation carries forward much from the older system.

Modern democratic representatives/leaders still have esteem, power and privilege heaped on them, as well as plenty of material benefit - similar to all that the lords and ladies of royal courts enjoyed. They still treated with what must be palpable deference, still honoured, pampered and fawned over - pretty much still treated like royalty - ripe fodder for all manner of narcissistic disorder.

Then, as I imagine in those royal courts that precede them, they are surrounded by others with similar status in spaces where maneuverings and machinations are encouraged and rewarded, and given closed doors behind which to negotiate and trade for favour and power.

And despite all this we expect them once installed to such office, to behave differently - better and more responsible than their 'ancestors'. They are installed in surroundings of virtual royalty; surrounded by the pageantry and intrigue of royal courts, and we are all still terribly surprised when they behave, sooner or later, with the same self interest and careless disregard for the public as the lords and kings of old.