Democracy (from the Greek Demos [people] and Kratos [rule]: Demokratia) is a system of government in which people first expressed themselves and their wishes by means of elected or chosen representatives. It originated in ancient Athens—in the sixth century B. C. to be precise and lasted until approximately 338 B. C.–where all citizens had a say-so in governmental matters; it evolved much later during the eighteenth century into a form of representative or parliamentary government where voters expressed their preferences by means of elected representatives.
Other qualities or attributes are also associated with this type of government. They are based on the concept of fairness in the voting process, legislative transparency, and justice. Although the exact manner of voting is not delineated in the Constitution, freedom of expression (and political opinion) is clearly prescribed in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights; in essence, everyone involved in the electoral process should be granted full equality, both in the manner by which they vote and how they are governed. Without these assurances, the word “democracy” has no true meaning. America is one of the few countries in the civilized world where federal elections are held at the state level, resulting in fifty different elections for federal and state offices.
In recent years, our so-called “democracy” has become more and more pluralistic in response to the growing diversity of our population. In the eyes of many progressives The Constitution, in spite of its 27 amendments, seems to be a static and rigid document that does not represent the dynamics of the modern period.
For the sake of expediency many statutes are being ignored or circumvented through various legal procedures. These alterations are enacted by state legislatures, especially in times of crisis (cf. The COVID pandemic that justified a radical change in voting patterns). Unless Congress or possibly the Supreme Court calls into question these dubious procedures, invalid alterations in governmental policies go unchallenged. This was the case of the presidential 2020 election when mail-in voting was imposed in many states to grant the “disabled” or COVID-fearful citizen the right to vote from home and not be required to vote physically at the ballot box. In effect, it changed the election from a one-day requirement to a multi-day, mail-in balloting extension with no mandatory ID or signature verification in several key states.
More and more, legislatures and opposing political parties are simply channeling amendments around legal barriers without following the “chain of command” and, very much like a fait accompli, having them accepted as enforceable procedures. In many cases these so-called “laws” are not the product of a legitimate vote. We are slowly but effectively becoming a plural state, responding arbitrarily to the demands of minorities and diverse communities.
Presidential fiats or orders are rarely questioned these days by entities that oversee executive privileges. Ruling by diktat is now accepted as a legitimate means of governing whenever there is a controversial issue to be resolved that would require a long and tedious discussion at the legislative level.
Expediency in the name of the common good is replacing the ponderous method of in-depth discussion required of elected officials. Legal procedures are being “modernized” to satisfy malcontents in our society. The legitimacy of national elections has been challenged by former office holders; lawsuits are filed on a regular basis to contest the results of narrowly won contests, most recently in the Arizona gubernatorial election where it was held that Keri Lake hadn’t proved “intentional misconduct,” the argument being that the many irregularities in Maricopa County, such as printer malfunctions and lack of chain of custody for mail-in ballots, could have been unintentional. Judges have shown that they are averse to overturning elections.
We, as Americans, love to state that “no man is above the law” and yet each executive order issued by the President places him beyond the reach of legislative restraint. The reluctance of Republican opponents to use legal intervention to deter his intentions also reinforces these powers. The collusion of social media, billionaires, corporate interests, and the liberal national press has clearly distorted the results of recent elections in favor of Democratic candidates.
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“Woke” versus Traditional Democracy: Diverse Opinions
We would like to examine this shift in democratic reform from the time-honored legislative approach to our new “woke” democracy based on the public’s immediate needs. This will be done in the form of a playlet where several actors will discuss the pros and cons of this intermediate stage of our “democracy” or, in a modernistic context, the rule of the many by a few elitists (the woke version) that takes place within a system designed to promote the rule of the body politic by its constituents. Without the approval and support of the entire country, representative democracy, as we now understand its workings, cannot survive over the long term. If not, what type of government would replace a system that has lasted almost 250 years?
The classic image of the frog slowly boiling to death in a pan of water that is incrementally heated pertains to the apathy and gradual acceptance of authoritarianism by the American public. Social media and major television news outlets control the way the majority thinks. People tend to vote according to likes and dislikes, not so much the political orientation of the candidate—the so-called party platform. In the 1950s the public “liked Ike” without truly knowing what ideas and policies he believed in. Personal identification with a candidate determines our voting preferences more than other matters.
Our playlet begins with young political buffs who are members of a political science discussion club that meets on a regular basis. They are sitting in a friend’s living room, having drinks and discussing their beliefs and future aspirations. They represent a wide variety of the American population. In no particular order, Neil Gottridge, constitutes the “leader” of the group. In this capacity, he tries to downplay his own political and social leanings although it becomes obvious that he is a “moderate” Democrat by upbringing and choice. He insists that bickering and “victimization” be held to a minimum when debating. Each person should be respected apart from his or her political biases; no “cancelling” is permitted–at least during club discussions.
Chelsey McCarthy, a graduate of an Ivy League university, sees democracy as “malleable” and out-of-date in our rapidly changing society. She has been initiated into the cult of zero-carbon energy goals. In her eyes global warming is more dangerous than any other current event to the extent that it threatens the longevity and stability of our civilization over the next few decades. She likes to smoke but Neil forbids anyone to do so inside his place. Although her father is Irish, her mother is Hispanic, from El Salvador.
Damien LeMaester, on the other hand, is a former Marine and combat veteran who rejects the idea of globalism and unrestricted immigration. Although he claims he is not a Trump advocate, he shares many of the ex-president’s ideas that promote American needs and values over those of other advanced nations. He is particularly concerned about immigration and worries about the future of White people, although he tends to avoid talking about it because he realizes it’s problematic for a graduate student to do so. He likes to view himself as a patriot and not affiliated with a specific political party or ideology. He is also proud of his Quebec heritage (Vive la belle province!). He is very suspicious of Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, and his socialistic tendencies.
Brigit Neilsson is a wife, mother, and woman of the deep South. She pictures herself as open-minded but her southern upbringing makes her partial to the old ways of governance; she has never felt comfortable with Trump’s populism or his nationalistic ideas. Progressive wokism and associated beliefs seem strange to her way of thinking. She declares herself to be a conservative independent. Her father is a Swedish immigrant and tends to support Bernie Sanders and his socialistic politics. Brigit’s husband is a solid right-wing lawyer who has attended Trump rallies. He only tolerates his father-in-law at family get-togethers.
Virginia du Jardin is a socialite from New Orleans and a Tulane graduate. She comes from a political family with ties to the Huey Long patriarchy and Ku Klux Klan proponents during the thirties and forties. Her grandfather, initially a left-wing Democrat, became a member of radical “white suprematist” groups in college and later during his legal career. Viriginia’s grandmother was a convert to segregation and later, after forced racial equality (“busing”) took place, actively promoted Western culture and white uniqueness in newspaper op-eds. Virginia’s mother came from Iowa, but shared many of the racist ideas of her husband and in-laws. Virginia is the organizer and president of the European heritage club that meets once a month to discuss racial issues. Her boyfriend is more or less neutral in political matters. He views Virginia’s commitment as a phase of youthful rebellion. “She’ll come around in time,” he believes.
Jason Weinstein is a Jewish, ultra-right-wing activist who would sacrifice himself for the survival of the Israeli state. He strongly supports the new Israeli government which includes avowed anti-Palestinian racists intent on extending apartheid and ethnic cleansing to the West Bank. He was a Trump supporter and cannot tolerate Biden and the new world order he represents. Deep down inside, Jason favors national priorities over international commitments except for unqualified support of the Israeli nationalistic movement.
Although he sees himself as non-biased towards racial minorities, he is concerned about the “browning” of America through unrestricted immigration at the porous southern border and the potential amnesty of all illegal aliens who are rapidly changing the cultural nature of the country. There are very few if any Jewish migrants among the millions that are illegally entering our country. He firmly believes that walls and immigration restrictions preserve our national identity.
He leans right on many issues. He views culture as our primary problem, not race. He fervently supports government which is based on the respect of strict constitutional authority. He often marches in demonstrations that promote right-wing movements. He views the January 6 rioters as frustrated loyalists who were trying to have their voices heard and not attempting to overthrow the government. His motto is “Stand up and be counted.” He even wears his MAGA cap upon occasion. He often gets into arguments with his relatives who re died-in-the-wool Democrats.
Jahowey Ngondu (whose real name is Jesse Salters) is an Antifa radical who has actively participated in demonstrations against the Trump regime and conservative values. Black Lives Matter is a banner that hangs in his apartment together with pictures of Malcom X and several “foot soldiers” of the movement for black equality. He lives openly with a white woman who is even more radical than he ever was. She communicates with the “dark” side of the freedom caucuses. She is lured by the violent extremists who can see no other way to effect change in a white-dominated country. She was a participant in the riots after the George Floyd “assassination/murder” (her words). They spend a lot of time at “liberation” socials and meetings.
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The Heart of the Matter
All of these participants are pursuing advanced degrees in political science at the local university—a sampling of how such people think these days. Some exchanges are bitter and accusatory.
Once in a while they invite a faculty member to join them in their get-togethers. Dietrich Baumgarten has agreed to participate in this session. A Harvard graduate, he is a specialist in European authoritarianism that covers a number of historical eras and extremist movements. His youth and knowledge of contemporary politics make him a welcome guest. His parents are native German; they often tell him stories of the Holocaust.
After Dietrich makes his introductory statement (not a lecture), he will blend into the group as a simple participant and not a panelist. The topic for today will be: “How can democracy in its various forms survive political wokism and a Marxist/socialist revival?”
In his opening remarks, Dietrich emphasizes that expediency is a seductive means of making difficult decisions in the political arena. It is true that modern political dynamics have very little to do with the teachings of Plato about the Republic who prized culture and intelligence above popular equality. In addition, the idealistic views of John Locke, Hugo Grotius, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, le baron de la Brède, Montesquieu, and other philosophers of the period shaped our current view of democratic rule by exerting a profound influence on the founding fathers.
It will be the task of the participants to resolve the ongoing dilemma of the best way to govern in the twenty-first century. In fact, Winston Churchill’s observation still holds true: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all other forms.” Abraham Lincoln in his 1863 Gettysburg address stressed the importance of democratic rule or freedom in saying that the Civil War (still in progress) was worthwhile because it ensured that democracy as a system of government would survive and that “government by the people, for the people and of the people would not perish from the face of the earth.”
In America, power comes from the bottom up; in other nations, power devolves from the top down which was one of the reasons for our American revolution against Great Britain.
Once people are not permitted access to those in power, frustration translates into resentment and hostility. With these ideas in mind, Dietrich emphasizes, each person should address the issue of what form of democracy is best for our modern world. Can it survive the putative historical cycle of 250 years? Will it eventually mutate into a form of authoritarianism as the French philosopher Montesquieu surmised in L’Esprit des lois (The Spirit of Laws)?
Rather than wait for Neil, the moderator, to choose a member, Brigit Neilsson spoke out in her distinct southern accent.
“Neil, I’ve given this subject a good bit of thought. Democracy is a system of government but it’s also a sort of “buzz word” for a society built on free trade, capitalism, and unrestricted voting (let’s say transparency).
Democracy takes on a lot of shapes and sizes. Who can forget Bush senior’s comment when the First Gulf War against Saddam Hussein ended: ‘Democracy has been returned to Kuwait,’ justifying of course America’s intervention in a battle to protect the integrity of the Saudi’s oil fields and regime. Kuwait! This was a small Islamic emirate that had never known the concept of Western democracy throughout its history. Its importance was being the gateway to the world’s major oil reserves.”
Neil: “Interesting comments, Brigit. That’s a typical analysis from mainstream critics of the 1990–1991 Gulf War, and certainly Pat Buchanan’s claim that it was all about Israel was an obvious anti-Semitic slur. I agree that Bush 41’s reference to democracy was an exaggeration to justify his war efforts in the Middle East. We say ‘democracy’ to demonize our opponent’s tribal leadership and give us the moral high ground.”
Brigit: (Her voice rising a little) “Okay, I agree with your assessment. But we’re still using the term democracy to impose our concept of government on Middle-Eastern theocracies and tribal fiefdoms that have served the Arabs well since the early years of the Ottoman empire.”
Chelsey: “Sorry for breaking in like this. Democracy is not a catch-all word for the perfect form of government but it levels the playing field by forcing those in power to be accountable. Trump would still be in office under another system. Sure, changes can and should be made; however, do we want a Mexican-style partido ùnico where politicians have little to fear from public disapproval?”
Jahowey: “In my opinion, democracy is more of a theory than a reality. Many of Marx’s ideas have been integrated into socialism and, let’s face it, our democracy has a socialist input as well. The weak have to be protected from the excesses of the strong. We’ve talked about this before.”
Virginia: “The democracy we now have suits our immediate needs. This insistence on diversity and inclusion prevents the more qualified candidates from being in power. Democracy moves us at times away from meritocracy which should be our guiding light. We should be governed by the “best and the brightest.”
Jahowey: Who are you kidding? Trump—the best and the brightest? Bush 43 and his war-mongering? Socialism will prevail because it shares wealth equitably with everyone, especially the repressed who suffer under capitalism. Blacks deserve special treatment because of white suppression throughout history. By the way, doesn’t our political system choose the “best and brightest” by popular vote?
Damien: “OK, let’s review. There must be something positive in our democracy—or representative system of government. It has survived a long time…around 246 years. We’re coming to the end of our projected historical cycle (cf. the Tytler Cycle of democracy) as expected. If so, what’s next?”
Jason: “Is this leading to a post-democratic world? We need to look at the state of current affairs before we answer that question. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. It’s a parliamentary system of government and not a bicameral legislative body like the United States. Can Israel survive for another ten years? I hope so but there’s no guarantee. That depends on its relationship with foreign powers that surround it. Sadly, Israel is constantly on a war footing. I’d like to remind everyone that Israel prospered under Trump’s term of office.”
Chelsey: “Oh yeah? And what about the Palestinians and their grievances? Israel survives by American military aid and intimidation. It’s become the new Sparta in the Mediterranean basin.”
Neil: “Easy, easy. We’re discussing the fate of democracy and not Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.”
Dietrich: “Let’s focus on the next phase of democracy in a woke environment. How do you view our system of government in a country that’s no longer dominated by white or European peoples?”
Brigit: “If Biden’s open-door policies continue for another two years, people of European origin will be relegated to a plurality of the overall population in just a decade or so. European immigrants for the most part have provided the creative oxygen for this country to prosper. Migrants from non-republican countries are good at furnishing low-skilled labor. We are becoming a digitized society that needs highly trained personnel who can be innovators and not agricultural laborers.”
Virginia: “Amen, sister. Look at the migrants flooding into the border states by the millions. How many come from Germany or Norway? We’re being inundated by the Third World. Is this justice? What about the thousands of legal applicants who have waited for years to become a citizen? How do they feel? The people managing the Biden administration couldn’t care less. They want to change the demographics of our country by presidential fiat in order to create a permanent left-leaning majority. Neither party will reverse these facts on the ground.”
Jahowey: “Many of these illegals are taking jobs from indigenous peoples and African American workers. Black labor has been misused and abused ever since we first got here in 1619. Even the White House was built by black slaves. Without the southern enslaved peoples, northern wealth before the Civil War would have been at best minimalized. The South’s riches were created by slave labor. We demand reparations for this long-term abuse of our brothers and sisters.”
Chelsey: “Here we go again. Eugenics above all in racial selection. No laboring masses, please! So much for the Statue of Liberty! My mother came to America from El Salvador with nothing but optimism and the will to work. Here I am, one generation later, a Princeton grad and pursuing my doctorate. Get used to it, white guys.
You’re living a privileged life as a Black, Jahowey. Enough moaning and groaning. Think of the situation in Rwanda or even South Africa. Suck up your egos and adapt to what’s coming down the line. Hispanics are the dominant minority because they work all the time. Stop waiting for the next government subsidy check and get a job.”
Damien: “Well, we’ll see. We can look to Brazil as a role model. Less than nine per cent of Brazilians are of direct European heritage. Look what they’ve produced: wide-spread poverty, political unrest, frivolity, the pursuit of sensuality, destruction of the Amazon rain forest, and yes, a huge difference in class distinctions…the wealthy ruling and the impoverished obeying. How many migrants from Venezuela go to Brazil as a country of choice? For that matter how many Americans are immigrating to Brazil for a ‘better’ life?”
Chelsey: “You need to read a little more on Brazilian history, Damien. First, there are around 47 or 48 per cent ‘white’ Brazilians listed on the last census. Granted, they self-identify by racial preference (as we do) but—get real!—we’ll soon be in that demographic imbalance in a decade or so. Okay, they have difficult cultural issues, but they manufacture planes and other goods. They just held the summer Olympic Games in Rio! Brazil is a country of immigrants, mainly Portuguese but many other nationalities as well. Japanese to boot. There are tons of tourists throughout the year. Poor choice and hasty conclusion, old boy!
Damien: “Smart ass. Would you give up your freedoms here and immigrate to Sao Paulo or Rio? You know you wouldn’t! I love Quebec but I’m staying in America and visiting the old country in the summertime.”
Dietrich: “Once again, let’s stay on topic. How does democracy enhance material and scientific progress better than autocratic governments?”
Neil: “Excuse me for intervening. That’s a no-brainer. Freedom of thought and the massive availability of research laboratories and government assistance encourage young scientists to fulfill their capabilities and potential. A Russian immigrant was partially responsible for founding Google. Think of the German physicists during the nineteen thirties; where would NASA be without Von Braun and his rocketry genius, etc.”
Chelsey: “We need to think more about our health rather than bottom-line greed. Concentrate on the quality of life and not ‘stuff.’ Let’s devote our skills, no matter where they come from, to making our atmosphere purer, our roads accessible to new energy vehicles, and a completely different system of highways with refurbished way stations for electrically charging EVs and creating new bridges to permit traffic to circulate safely. There are a ton of things we can do to better society and make our lives more fulfilling. Go green, baby!”
Damien: “Neil, do you really think that illiterate peasants from Honduras and Africa are going to establish companies like Google? And let’s face it, the philosophy of the left is ‘spend, baby, spend’…with no discernible goals in sight, just hopes and aspirations. Trillions of dollars to ‘improve’ a system that is already highly functional and affordable. Let’s concentrate on drilling more—even on government lands—fracking, and improving our scrubbing techniques to purify automobile exhausts and carbon emissions. Why should we beg Venezuela or Saudi Arabia for petroleum? We can be self-sufficient in energy!
We can live with hybrid vehicles, fossil fuel and diesel-powered trucks and airplanes for some time to come. Life expectancy will not be affected in the least. Why enrich the Chinese in purchasing solar panels and wind turbines, when nuclear power plants will perform infinitely better at much lower cost and risk? Let’s do some long-term bottom line analysis and get away from ideology, please.”
Brigit: “That’s true, Damien. What about farmer’s trucks and old cars in small towns? How are they going to power up? Plug in to the home grid? That would create power outages and a huge electric bill at the end of the month. We need to think about the future realistically. What about China and India who are polluting like crazy while we sacrifice our standard of living? Insanity!”
Dietrich: “So, can we conclude, without coming to blows, that democracy as it now stands can weather the storm of “wokism” and radical progressive theory aimed at retrofitting vehicles and buildings as well as eliminating energy sources to achieve zero-carbon outputs? Or do we need to rip up the Constitution and Bill of Rights so socialism and neo-marxism can blossom more efficiently? A consumer society that limits its consumption for cleaner air will revert to an economic no-growth scenario. This is socialism at its finest: equally sharing a stagnant amount of wealth.”
Jahowey: “The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written by high-falutin’ intellectuals who owned slaves. The ‘people’ were for the most part British and European immigrants in a country which had been owned by native Americans for millennia. This was “democracy” by conquest, not by individual choice!”
Neil: “Enough is enough, Jahowey. We’ve heard this argument for territorial legitimacy before. How many African nations were the result of tribal conquests before colonization? Mexico should return its lands to the indigenous peoples that were conquered by the Spanish?
The Constitution foresaw the need for change through amendments; let’s stay with that for the time being. And by the way, if anyone would like another drink, help yourself in the kitchen.
Many thanks to our guest whom we shall see tomorrow in his Russian imperialism class.”
Brigit: “Jason, our family is going to take a tour of Israel and the Mediterranean this summer. Let’s get together sometime soon and talk about travel possibilities.”
Jason: “I’ll introduce you to my cousin, Janine, who will set up a great travel plan. She’ll get you in touch with some true Israelis who will show you around.”
As the others were leaving, Virginia and Jahowey engaged in a heated argument over the question of compassion or economic need as the basis for immigration policy.
Damien got involved by asking: “Forget about compassion and economic need. There are billions of people we can feel sorry for because of poverty or whatever. Does that mean we have to make them US citizens? White people founded this country! They have an interest in retaining their majority role. Every other ethnic group is advocating for their own interests…Black, Asian, Jewish, Hispanic, Pacific Islanders, and many others. Why shouldn’t Whites promote their interests and have a support group? If a Black or Hispanic shoots an unarmed White, it that a ‘hate crime’? Ethnic hate divides us into warring factions. This can’t go on.”
Jahowey and even Virginia (despite her deep concerns about immigration) were shocked at hearing these comments. Everyone began to shout “racist slurs!” “Shame on you!” and some shook their fist at Damien who held his ground. His status in the group and the political science department would be compromised, he knew. But someone has to speak out! Whites were basically good people, not “systemic white racists” as the progressives claimed. He had fought for his country, both White and Black. Academics had no idea of how precious freedom really was. He had seen the worst oppression imaginable in the Middle East.
Neil made a calming gesture and reminded everyone hurriedly that the next meeting would be centered on demographics and national unity. Could America survive regional autonomy and extended cultural enclaves without a school system to teach the basic values of a united country? There would be e-mails to mark this occasion.