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What if the ‘people’ don’t want democracy?

Posted on February 21st, 2012 at 18:32 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


A survey has revealed that the people of Libya may not be keen on democracy after all. The “Arab Spring” has been celebrated in the Western world as a struggle of democracy against dictatorship. Often the implicit assumption was that what the revolutionaries who were trying to overthrow their authoritarian regimes wanted was a Western-style parliamentary democracy. So when only 15 per cent of those surveyed in Libya say they want democracy established in a year, compared with 40 per cent who profess a preference for a “strong leader”, it’s a bit of a let-down for Western cheerleaders of the upheavals in the Arab world. Moreover, apparently only about a third of those polled wanted democracy even in five years’ time.

Today’s democracies seem incapable of making difficult decisions, as Europe demonstrates, or they are run by corporations with deep pockets, as the US demonstrates.

Now go tell people in Libya what’s so great about a democracy.

  1. In a democracy, you only have yourselves to blame.

  2. In a democracy, you get bribed with your own money.

  3. In a democracy, I don’t worry about the knock on the door in the night.

  4. I’ll stop now. I assume the desire for a “strong leader” is for some paternal type who will “make it all better” and “give us stuff”. Sorry chaps, it’s not magic. You have to do it for yourselves. This is not an easy road.
    As a big man once said, it’s probably the worst form of government apart from all the others. Democracies can be built (cf. modern Germany) but it’s hard, bloody work.

  5. “Personally, I’m in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions of society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism, we can’t have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control.”
    — Noam Chomsky

  6. What’s wrong with a nice benevolent dictatorship?

  7. Well, at least the trains run on time.

  8. To desire democracy, a society have to “get there”. It’s not like you can just “import” a completely new social structure.

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