Who Watches the Watchers 2
The Price of Freedom is a Contradiction in Terms
Let’s look on the bright side; advanced democracies are the worst systems for balancing human needs against rights and freedoms tried thus far - except for all the rest. It’s an old joke, so old now that it’s high time we created a new system befitting a new millennium, one closer to our most glorious visions of artistic, wise, playful and sustainable civilizations.
We must arise from the unfair fantasy feudal system that pits entrepreneurs against wage slaves and pits them all against a horde of disenfranchised and impoverished outsiders. We must awake from the age-old inchoate warrior worshipping chaos of this superstition-driven shambles we call the post-modern world.
The new millennium is well past being at hand. We live on a globe where vile and violent barbarians have built the gates and walls that constrain the freedoms of a surprisingly peaceable multitude. The rule of law is still slowly being transformed as the iron fist of endless wartime is gradually cloaked in the velvet glove of peace. Informed and educated (if not indoctrinated) populations are more than ready to hear the truth and determine their own fates in this new aeon, when we’ve finally wrested control from the grasping talons of primitive kings, kaisers, emperors, generals and other egocentric despots and dictators.
Citizens no longer have to be helpless servile pawns and paeons in the feudal fiefdoms and notional nations of dynastic control freaks and petty tyrants. We can decide for ourselves – if we have access to accurate and unbiased sources of information amidst a vast range of diverging views; if we have broadly based free education systems; if we have real freedom of information and truly free and unconstrained media. Freedom of information is a prerequisite for a free press, an informed population and is essential if we’re to have honest politicians and corporations.
If we are to be subjected to intrusions of privacy at all levels because the level of today’s technologies have reached the point where any individual can endanger an entire city, then complete openness of government is the only acceptable quid pro quo (see part 1)– for a start. The first generation of Freedom of Information laws were easily circumvented by governments and corporations schooled in the old wartime paradigm. The lousy excuses that have been foisted on any who attempt to divine the truth from our public servants must all be swept away while we have the breathing space of relatively peaceful times.
Our supposedly modern versions of democracy have all grown as outdated as our apparently quaint notions of privacy, and have always been based around systemically sustained inequities. When the elected representative of the people of a region, state or nation are beholden to a party line formulated in an utterly undemocratic manner by a coterie of conspirators behind closed doors, they have no chance of truly representing their community and constituency. Many so-called ‘local representatives’ are parachuted into safe seats or constituencies and have no links whatsoever with the people they claim to represent.
The party system hamstrings democracy and gives the power to make any worthwhile changes to the very people who profit from maintaining the status quo. Parties are groups of conspirators with hidden agendas and well spun and crafted personas. Parties are the tools of oligarchs, plutocrats, ideologues and shadow governments who puppeteer proceedings from the wings of theatrical parliaments, congresses, diets and senates. Parties, presidents, prime ministers and potentates are distractions to occupy the attention of perpetually overworked, tired and shell-shocked wage serfs on endlessly repetitive treadmills.
Changing the Paradigm
Short of outright (and probably self-defeating) revolution, political parties are far too entrenched to simply disappear. The structures that surround them cannot be discarded without untenable disruption to human societies. But parties can be slowly replaced with healthier institutions and options, political tweakings that induce weedy old politics to wither on the vine, and ultimately fade into irrelevancy.
Democracy has one great inherent failing; it can all too easily become a tyranny of a slender majority, or even of a slimmer minority. The existence of formal parties only exacerbates this basic dilemma - particularly in nations where politics is perennially split into two opposing but fundamentally similar camps. In this all too prevalent situation, freedom of choice can be an irrelevancy. Yet parties are already far less relevant than we are led to believe.
The reality is that most nations on Earth have already agreed to, signed and ratified the articles of a universal International Bill of Rights. This fact is rarely addressed. Many of the most benign legislative decisions governments purport to have made on behalf of citizens have been made as a result of these largely unacknowledged documents. This is the reason people in countries that are not protected by a US-style Bill of Rights have guaranteed access to a phone call and legal representation if arrested, for instance. This is the reason women’s rights have been enshrined in law in most developed nations, and why children cannot be forced to work. If everyone was aware of their real rights as enshrined in these readily available and easily digested documents, it would soon become obvious that governments are merely tinkering at the edges.
A commonly suggested counter to the power of self-perpetuating antiquated political institutions is citizens’ initiated referenda. Some nations already have systems whereby citizens can raise issues and vote on them directly in referendums or plebiscites. If a certain threshold of signatures can be obtained via petitions, for instance, then the issue must be voted upon concurrent with the next general or regional election.
If people can vote on issues directly, rather than for faces or factions, direct democracy can become a reality and the old political institutions will swiftly lose much of their power. As referenda must usually be passed with at least a two-thirds majority, the tyranny of minority viewpoints can be more easily avoided than is the case with general elections.
But it must be remembered that direct democracy will only work in conjunction with a free media (including a free internet), freedom of information and a broadly educated and fair-minded population. When obvious problems with electronic voting can finally be ironed out, we can finally progress to real-time direct democracy, and dispense with most politicians entirely. These changes won’t happen tomorrow, but are already on the horizon and approaching faster than you may think.
Our superannuated party-based democracies have become the major barrier to a truer democracy whose light is dawning - if we only seize the day and recognise our chance while we retain the luxuries of relative peace and prosperity. If we must have unified world governance and total surveillance, let’s make it happen on our terms, not those of the old Illuminati.
Let’s have enclaves of diversity in a peace-loving world, where everyone has enough to eat and drink, and where weapons have all been banned, or turned into ploughshares. Let’s share the bounty of Mother Nature fairly and sustainably in a new, well-informed and well-intentioned world government of equals. We can do it quite easily if we take the chance on a great future for all in a paradise on Earth.
There’s a lot of work to do. We have an entire planetary ecosystem to repair. We can do it. After all - what are our other options?
by R. Ayana
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