Category Archives: politics

A Short, Depressing History of Democracy.


Still in existence in this, the 21st Century, are small groups of people, tribal bands, which have a form of proto-democracy. In these small groups of normally less than 100 people, decisions are made by consensus. These remnant hunter gatherers give hints as to how our distant pre-sedentary ancestors governed themselves.

Face-to-face discussions work well when everyone in the group knows each other. When responsibility is clearly known by all members of the group. That this form of governance still exists in remote tribes in the Amazon and in the Kalahari Desert among the San and even in Outback Australia where Indigenous Australians have returned to Communities within their homelands makes it plausible to assume that democracy in one form or another arises naturally in any small well-bonded group or tribe.

Then hunting and gathering bands gave way to larger pastoral, agrarian and trading groups who began to live in villages, then towns and eventually cities. It was no longer possible to know everyone in the community and so primitive methods of governance gave way to new forms of leadership.

Probably the first was rule by the strongest later mixed with rule by the richest. Monarchy, tyranny, aristocracy, priesthoods and oligarchy – have all flourished in more urban centres, often those with concentrated populations.

The key to the majority of these systems of government was that it was one man rule. There was little or no thought given to succession. The death of a leader precipitated a time of trouble and uncertainty. This was sometimes overcome by quarantining leadership within a single family but this was often a two or three generational solution as the leadership ability of the originator of the family line would often disappear with the grandson.

The Greeks, and possibly their Middle Eastern neighbours, grew tired of the destruction caused by succession battles and invented, or reverted, to the original form of Government. A primitive democracy. Not one involving universal suffrage but a democracy based on the opinions and votes of free, males of some societal standing.

In 507 B.C., the Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a system of political reforms that he called demokratia, or “rule by the people.” This system had three separate institutions:

1; the Ekklesia, a sovereign governing body that wrote laws and dictated foreign policy;
2; the Boule, a council of representatives from the ten Athenian tribes;
3; the Dikasteria, the popular courts in which citizens argued cases before a group of lottery-selected jurors.

An early example of the separation of powers we see in many Western Democracies today.

That enlightened age lasted just 50 years before the General, Pericles, began to change the system into an Aristocracy. A group of leading (i.e. wealthy) families took control of the city. Firstly by buying the votes of the franchised and secondly by openly exercising the power their inherited wealth gave them.

Other Greek and Middle-Eastern City States followed similar routes into and out of proto-Democracy. Then the Tyrants rose again. The Zhou had taken control of the initial Chinese Empire 500 years earlier. The king of Zhou at this time invoked the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to legitimize his rule, a concept that was influential for almost every succeeding dynasty.  Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great took control of vast swathes of Western humanity and Alexander was raised to the status of a God-King.

For the next 2,000 years Tyrants in one form or another ruled in the West. The major player in this was the Rome-based Catholic Church which sainted its favourites and excommunicated its enemies. Those just trying to live a life went along with this because it was the safest thing to do.

Until the leaders became too greedy and too rapacious.

From the revolt led by Wat Tyler in 14th century England to the French Revolution, extreme poverty was the catalyst for attempts at reform. The French version seemed to succeed for a while, although Napoleon arrived on the scene and took control for several decades. However the ideals of the French revolution were exported to the newly formed United States of America and Democracy found an apparently permanent home.

Democracy developed independently in Britain and France. As a result of the Anglo-Saxon, of varying accents, invasions in Europe it took hold in the rest of Western Europe. Democracy was also imposed in the Eastern World through the American invasion of Japan and South Korea.

A close look at all these democracies shows a familiar and extremely worrying trend. This form of Government has always, from the days of the hunter-gatherers, relied on the electorate having an accurate knowledge of the world.

In the House of Commons, on 31 October 1944, Winston Churchill said, ‘At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper – no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.’

An aristocracy of wealth is stealthily claiming back the power it lost in the great revolutions. Aided by a consolidation of the means of communication and a knowledge of the behaviour of homo sapiens en masse, they are taking control of that little pencil. From several centuries of advertising experience, the selling of a selected politician is child’s play to the expert manipulators of an uninformed public.

It seems the natural form of Government of an Urban conglomerate is a Tyrant in one form or another.

Want to help me grease the Guillotine.

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Sod and Sid and Franking Credits


The Fine Print


For the Australians among my readership.

 

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More Cyanide than Happiness


Thoughts on War and Peace


Things we, as a species, have learned from the wars of History and which we should have learned from Afghanistan and Iran but are about to forget (again) with Iraq.
 
Those who follow Jesus need to take note of the first quote!
“Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” Martin Luther King
“Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.” Martin Luther King
“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” Abraham Lincoln
“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” Albert Camus
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. Albert Einstein
“After victory, you have more enemies.” Cicero
“Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.” Lao Tzu
“The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.” William Shakespeare
Finally, from an old blogging friend, in several languages;
War is not my language

الحـرب ليســـت لغتـي

מלחמה היא לא השפה שלי

No Longer a Laughing Matter


My reaction to senseless and incompetent power is to laugh at it. To disbelieve in its permanence. To trust my fellow Australians to make fun of these ultimate tall poppies and to cut them down to size. To use satire as a weapon.

Yet the results of the recent Australian elections have shown me, and many others, that political life is no longer normal. Obvious lies, corruption and incompetence are now not only recognised but accepted and voted for. An attempt to offer inclusion, truth and repair was rejected out of hand.

I seem to have lost my sense of humour, my view that if we laugh at these Banana Republicans, we will defeat them. Satire has been outdone by reality, in so much of the western world.

Frustrated reader, it is not only you who is starved of inspiration. On Twitter and Facebook, where, in the past I found so many posts with a satiric twist, the inspiration has dried up. This is going to be a hard three years. I am also starved of the required ideas and am reduced to homicidal rants.

I have always said (well since 1975) that democracy is a dictatorship of a very small majority. That is now being shown in spades all over the Western World.

Many are asking questions about what we can actually do to fix the sorry state of Australia’s governance. I can see nothing which can legally be done.

Writing letters or sending emails is satisfying in a small way but effectively useless. Taking to the streets is a limited action. A spot of genuine, murderous anarchy is something we can privately hope for yet not publicly condone.

We are being reduced to the level of serfs and slaves; a situation which never ends well for the civilisation which goes down this path.

What follows is not a threat or a call to arms. It is a simple prediction based on history. Because we have seen what happens when the oppressed reach a state of complete desperation. In Russia, in France, in China and much more recently, in the Arab Spring.

The current leadership of our nation will probably escape the capital punishment they deserve by growing old faster than the revolution grows. But their replacements are going to feel the wrath of all who have been starved and humiliated.

The lucky ones will suffer through show trials. Those who are less lucky will find a gory doom in their offices and in the streets. And many who are functionally innocent will also suffer because they have chosen to profit from the evil and not spoken out against it.

Just as they always do in a revolution.

 

Murdoch Legerdemain


It is insidious.

The bait and switch of the Murdoch media cycle.

Shit! The ALP is leading in this election. Bill Shorten is being honest with the electorate. We need to make up some lies and only talk about them until election day.

Border Force is being a little pushy with our plans to remove all dissent from Australia. Sorry, Scummo, you’ll have to take one for the team. You remember that embarrassing event at that Macca’s. Don’t worry, you’re a great salesman. In three months everyone will have forgotten it.

The economy is tanking so let’s all talk about the Matildas on the FRONT page, not the back, sporting pages like good journalism would.

There is corruption in the waterless world which is inland Australia, let’s all talk about Union corruption and John Setka.

That pesky climate change thing has raised its ugly head again. And coal mining is under fire from the unwashed left. Oh goody. We can have a Folau-led crusade on free speech. The left just love free speech.

Hands up all those who have been trapped into this insidious game which only benefits the IPA/LNP/Murdoch Junta. Who have wasted precious time mocking the foibles which are paraded before us in preference to the real, horrifying news of what is happening to the planet and to the people being robbed, killed and de-humanised by those who benefit from inhumanity.

Take a look at the front page of your news source of choice. Is what’s given pride of place the REALLY important news we need to know about? Or is it a distraction so evil men can continue their foul deeds?

Let us all think about what we read, where our outrage is being directed and keep our eyes on the main game.

The survival of the species and the elimination of the Right Wing!