The extraordinary events of the past week, in which a popular prime minister elected by a record majority, has been subjected to such vileness as to make her resign, is a symptom of our flawed “democratic” system. A system which, by its peculiar nature, made such an outcome entirely predictable
Back in the 1972, when the newly-elected Labour government’s election slogan had been “Time for a Change”, NZ Herald cartoonist, Minhinnick, greeted the result with a cartoon cynically rearranging the words to read “Change for a Time.” And given the nature of our political system, however contemptuous his cartoon was of the electorate’s decision, the cartoonist was absolutely right – it was “change for a time” – and isn’t that our problem?
Isn’t the system that we so fiercely defend, believing that it represents the very best principles of “a free and just society”, actually the greatest obstacle to that free and just society ever being fully achieved?
How did we ever come to be convinced that being given a chance every three years to choose between opposing political ideologies, carrying with them the possibility of everything one has done being undone by the other, as being the very definition of a “democracy” and the only path to a better tomorrow?
Is that really the best we can do?
A poor excuse for the principle Lincoln expressed in his Gettysburg address; “Government of the people, for the people by the people”, our democracy is a sham.
Based on our blind trust in a false narrative, we are victims of what Gramsci called “Cultural hegemony”, wherein the society’s understanding of itself is surreptitiously manipulated by “the Establishment”, to have us believe that its “world view” is the one and only, and so it becomes the accepted norm.
Similarly, Noam Chomsky, one of the great political thinkers of our age, described our society as having long been the victim a similarly all-pervasive propaganda model designed to produce our “Manufactured Consent” to continue wearing the chains that bind us, without recognizing them for what they are.
But perhaps “The People”, are beginning to stir, beginning to see through the smoke and mirrors of our “democracy” for the disgraceful self-serving, (for the establishment) charade that it is.
Perhaps people are starting to question a system which, to function, requires that we prey on our fellow man, a system that says for some to profit, most must lose. As system in which, lacking a manufacturing sector, the necessities of life itself have become tradable commodities on which our economy depends to function.
That’s Feudalism – the system that prevailed when when we were ruled over by “landed gentry”, and which our forebears fled here to escape. (The fact that we then imposed that system on the people we found here is another story)
As the phrase “landed gentry” suggests, people in those days were defined as those who had property and those who didn’t – and isn’t that what has come to define us today? In effect we are devouring ourselves to survive – a process which by its very nature increases the disparity between the haves and the have-nots, and so speeds us towards ever greater calamity.
Another way to describe how our systems works is to say we are devouring our children’s tomorrows.
Whatever, there has to be a better way and fundamental to finding that “Better Way” must be a frank and fair discussion about the purpose of society, a concept which the odious Margaret Thatcher, one of the architects of neo-liberalism, said doesn’t exist.
Suffice it to say, we need to redress the worst outcomes of our present system, which, as Dr. Susan St John’s many posts on TDB make so very clear, is an ever-expanding poverty demographic.
But how do we do that?
How do we stop the system from devouring our children’s future?
We make it so every politician’s tenure in the job is dependent on them actually addressing the problem, not just paying lip-service to it.
But how do we do that?
Give every child a vote!
Demeny voting is named after demographer Paul Demeny, who came up with the idea in 1986. Demeny argued that children “should not be left disenfranchised for some 18 years and that custodial parents should exercise the children’s voting rights until they come of age”. Demeny’s motivation behind proposing such a system was to make the political system more responsive to the plight of those most adversely affected by it, but who had no voice. Read more about it here;
Imagine it. Immediately people, many with big families, who, almost by definition, are the system’s greatest victims, would immediately have real power at the ballot box, instead of that which, under the current system, cheats them.
Suddenly our poorer communities would see changes made and those currently benefitting at their expense would have to find other, more productive, wys to provide the lifestyles they’ve become accustomed to.
But of course, since politicians would be involved in determining if such a system was ever considered, and given the previously described “cultural hegemony” The Establishment has over our “explanations, perceptions values and mores”, it won’t ever happen.
In the meantime we have lost someone who, despite herself being part of the system, deserved better than the vileness she was subjected to.