Democracy was seen as the great leveller of society, removing ancient hierarchies which supposedly entrenched poverty and made men lesser to others due to birth or rank. With one man, one vote, all of the population could have a say in the distribution of wealth, and thus limit the power of the vested interests and the landed aristocracy. When combined with the great public work of universal state-based education, a whole raft of intelligent voters would descend upon nations, changing their economic and political courses to new horizons. Such were the prophecies of democracy.
The realities, however, are quite different. In terms of education, there has been a drop in GCSE results in the UK alone, with the grade inflation of the New Labour years being shown to be phony. Vested interests dominate the halls of government, whether through lobbying, political party donations or through piggy-backing on the onerous regulations which effectively act as massive entry barriers to economic competition. The institutions which defined and shaped lives, from the common law system, the married family and the church, to an accountable and limited governmental system have slowly been eroded and destroyed. Birth out of wedlock is more common, particularly amongst the poorest, and single motherhood has become a much more accepted affair. While some see this as progress, women’s happiness has actually declined below that of men’s despite this supposed freedom. The married family is becoming an anachronistic concept, and the “democracy” of the state is replacing it.
The common law systems which defined English law and inform American law have slowly but perniciously been eroded and reformed beyond recognition. Double jeopardy got thrown out with the Stephen Lawrence case and the enabling acts changed the face of English common law to resemble an easily-moulded judicial bureaucracy. The Church, which helped refine and push forth a Christian morality of temperance and respect is now long gone. Instead we have short-term nihilism where whatever pleasure desired is provided and allowed, all under the cover of some hackneyed concept of human rights.
Governmental systems such as those in the UK and America were founded on principles of accountability, the rule of law and the significant limitation of powers. Now both countries have political parties that rely on billionaire donors and the petty tribalism of voting blocs, while ironically disagreeing on very little. All major parties are pro-war, pro-business and believers in the welfare-warfare state.
All such developments can be traced to around the same time that universal suffrage and the power of democracy came to be significant. It’s prophecies of accountable power and an informed public have been shown to be blatant lies. Rather, misinformation and tribalism maintain political power, while the poorest of society become an effective underclass both subsidised and mistreated by “well-meaning” political benefactors. Under democracy, there has been a massive increase in the size and scope of the welfare state, destroying in its tracks the Church and its connection to the poor as well as the friendly societies and mutual aid organisations which created feelings of solidarity and community amongst the working class.
The powers of modern democracy further helped destroy the unity and collectivity of the working classes, as the election of Thatcher heralded the end of industries which provided dignity and a good occupation for those working class men and women. Now, much of the North and the Midlands still feel the effect of deindustrialisation, while being provided recycled subsidies from the state in the form of welfare payments.
The promises of a free market which would benefit all have proven to be hollow, as the Thatcherite consensus simply moved subsidies from the manufacturing sectors to the financial markets through the developments of too-big-to-fail banks and the continuance of the money monopoly. The Labour Party proved to be no opposition, eventually adopting the Thatcherite rhetoric under Neil Kinnock. Democracy did nothing to help these people, and now through the welfare state it simply engenders enclosed criminality and the entrenchment of poverty without dignity. In America there exists a similar story of subsidised outsourcing and the unnecessary devastation of working class communities in the Rust Belt. Much of these people now back the Trump campaign, again showing the stupidities of democracy and its potential for demagoguery.
Democracy has brought upon the working and middle classes the ability to vote. But what does this mean when decisions are made remotely, governments aren’t accountable and there are no mechanisms for actual change. A vote means nothing when there is consensus in politics. Only through things like referenda or the rise of populist leaders can working and middle class people actually get their voices heard. And when these fail, they continue to lose hope in any change whatsoever. Now the majority of political parties court votes from the centre-ground, an area full of economic and social liberals who care nothing for solidarity, nationality or an economy that benefits everyone.
Much of Western society lives in a spiral of degeneracy, generational poverty and cultural decay. Meritocracy is pushed aside in favour of egalitarianism, a failed project that simply makes those who are good enough worse off. Democracy promised to level society, and it certainly did. It levelled the best to the worst. The paternalism between rich and poor and the solidarity between members of the working classes have been cast aside by the welfare state, which can simply be voted into existence and requires no moral foundation. Democracy has annihilated the traditional mores which connected society and made meritocratic hierarchies possible. Maybe someone can explain to me how this is any way a good thing, because from where I can see, all democracy has done is pull into being its own self-fulfilling prophecies.