“Democracy is dead. Those born to the money and power that it takes to win a good education who have the intelligence and the necessary information to make informed decisions and the will, the motivation and the discipline to implement those decisions should be given a free hand in shaping the world to their will. The rest should learn their place and learn to obey or expect to be removed from the playing field.”
While I respect the person who made this statement, I disagree wholeheartedly with the position the person takes, especially when the person says that “democracy is dead.” The West is still the mecca of modern day democracy, and it will continue to be so until the people lose faith in the institutions that govern it. If we are not considered to be a democratic nation, what are we? We are certainly not a dictatorship nor a tyrannical regime nor a feuding warmongering nation. Therefore, if we are not a democracy, what are we? The people who usually try and cause a panic – the rabble rousers – tend to call us some type of privileged oligarchy, a government that only serves the rich and has been so institutionalized down to the core that it is now uninhabitable for the “other 99%.” This is simply not the case.
We are not the oligarchy – Russia is the oligarchy. Russia has a third world economy and a first-class military. It is no different than the Soviets of old, where the rich businessmen go out on their yachts and party until they die while everyone else suffers. If this sounds like our country, I’m not sure if we are living in the same one. Do I acknowledge that there is inequality? Of course I do! However, I also acknowledge that some inequality is good inequality. A capitalistic system is better than any other system in modern day economics – but it still has its flaws. Yes, the rich can game the system, but this doesn’t make us a privileged oligarchy like some say it does. Unlike Russia – the actual privileged oligarchy – people can more easily work their way up in our country. Social classes may exist, but people can be successful and work their way up the ladder; this is called incentive, and it’s vital to an economy’s growth and how hard people are willing to work.
Now let’s shift towards the politics of a democracy. While it is true that big money has crept into politics – and that is something I adamantly oppose – it’s also true that people’s votes count and people can elicit change. This is widespread all throughout the west. If this wasn’t a democracy, why would there be a turnover in the ruling class or party? When Britain’s pollsters all predicted that Remain would win, and the people in turn voted for Leave, is this not an example of democracy?
Additionally, the education argument – that people are born into money and power are absolutely given a huge advantage over the kids born in the middle and lower classes. No one is arguing that. The fact of the matter is that communism does not work. Socialism does not work. Look at Venezuela; they have some of the best sources of energy but they are one of the worst performing economies in the entire world. Oh yeah, Venezuela runs under a communistic regime too – and unlike ours – their elections are not democratic.
I think the writer of the post is actually confusing two different points and mashing them together. The writer believes that correlation causes causation in that inequality causes a breaking down of democracy. However, it’s more effective if we measure both points separately. While there is inequality in the world today, does that mean that our democratic institutions are rights are breaking down? From what I have highlighted above, I do not believe so. However, I am sympathetic to what the writer wrote since I am an advocate for opportunity, liberty, and rights. Therefore, what are some good pragmatic solutions for what the writer is saying? The next paragraph will address these problems and hopefully it gives some sufficient solutions to provide the writer with some context.
So often today, people worry about what other people are doing but seem to forget about what they should really be caring about: themselves. So often people preach “equality for all” and “equal opportunity.” But what does this really mean? Does this mean emboldening the lower and middle class? Or does it mean taking the upper class down a peg? Take the progressive tax rate for example. When any politicians propose some type of tax that truly levels the playing field, people whine that it’s not. If a flat tax was enacted at 12.5% per household, this would truly be an equal playing field without trying to “hurt” another individual. And while a rate like this would increase the income gap between the rich and poor, there is a solution to this. Trickle down economics did not trickle down when Reagan was President in the U.S., as the income gap grew exponentially. However, if we eliminate the offshoring and loopholes in the tax system here, that money that would be stuffed off seas would be reinvested into our country – a true trickle down system of economics. The only risk to this system – that addresses the unequal wealth that the writer brings up – is inflation.
In terms of education, the writer is probably talking about how high the cost of college has gotten. However, this is due to numerous factors. For one, the more loans that the government shells out increases the demand for college. When there is an increase in demand, there will be an increase in price by the producer, which in this case is college, or what I like to call, Big Education. So many people are upset with Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Fossil Fuels, but no one seems to be upset with Big Education. These institutions are gaming the system by jacking up prices through abundant renovations to campus. The government’s at fault for this because they have gotten so deep in the loan system that colleges just keep asking for more and more money since it’s abundant because it’s all coming from the government. Therefore, it may sound cruel, but in order for prices to go down, which in turn would decrease the level of inequality, the government will need to start decreasing the amount of loans they give out, as this would cause a decrease in demand which in turn would put downward pressure on the price of college.
In conclusion, there are a lot of problems, but that doesn’t mean that we should just say democracy is dying. The way to solve these problems isn’t to tear the country apart but to work pragmatically, meet people in the center, and make bipartisan laws that everyone will favor. People need to realize that they can’t get everything, and this means there will need to be some sacrifices while reaping some rewards. While I do not agree with it, the statement still resonates with me because I know a lot of people who feel this way and are upset with the way things are going.