Democracy: a mere nuisance

Kashif Manzoor

I can tell you how lee Kuan Yew governed Singapore for three decades and made her what she is today. Details can be explored that how LDP (Liberal Democratic Party of Japan) has been at the helm of the affairs since 1955 except for a brief 11 month period from 1993 to 1994 and from 2009 to 2012 has led Japan to economic and technological super power status. I have a wonderful story to tell that how “Miracle on the Han River” started at the hands of General Park Chung-hee in South Korea. Similarly, successful Indian liberalization policies during four successive regimes are yet another example. There can be lot more examples to be added but what is common in all these?

It does not take an Einstein to figure out that the success of the afore-mentioned countries came through consistency of policy underpinned by the political stability. Not only in the modern times but this has been the case throughout the history that a state prospers on the shoulders of peace and stability. The core values of any success story are conviction, consistency and constancy in any system and it is not the other way around as west thinks with democracy. Any system not followed by these core values could fail but what if a system is flawed by default?

Democracy has intrinsic volatility that makes it unable to be a reliable governing system. Re-election of the government after a certain period is a good prescription to make strategic decision making impractical and adding insult to injury is the possibility of mid-term elections squeezing whatever room is available in this regard. To make the things worse democracy has a phenomenon called popular politics which presses the incumbents to go for short term gimmicks. Then comes the party politics; an idea based on dividing people and it does divide a nation perpetually. Most of the time political parties feel obliged to oppose just for the sake of opposition. A democracy is considered best when it is not interfering into the institutions but what it actually does is a complete opposite. And quite ironically politicians are justified to say that what our use is if we are here to just sit in and watch..! This is just tip of the iceberg which makes a perfect combination for a system to be ungovernable.

But the modern nation states have been rescued by an old state institution; the establishment. Establishments try to make sure that democratic institution like parliament and its committees make less and less mayhem and governing business keeps running harmlessly. The ability of an establishment to manage the democracy depends upon the factor that how effective and efficient are the institutions. This explains the fact that why are the western democracies performing better than the third world countries when the basic principle of democracy is the same. This is the formula employed by the above mentioned countries to execute their plans successfully. It is the establishment which makes sure the consistency of policies should not be overlooked by the new government. It is the establishment which guarantees the smooth sailing of a state. Interestingly enough that the west itself has (implicitly though) acknowledged the fact by introducing different kinds of democracy. The presidential system is renowned for its greater efficiency as the president has the greater control over choosing his team plus his decision making is least effected by the chains of democratic institutions as compared to the Westminster’s democracy.

This also exposes the clichéd western political thought as they take democracy as a faith. They have left no room for any betterment as sacred democracy is irreplaceable. And the worst case scenario is the neo colonized third world which has taken this stereotype to the heart. Even if the western intellect has started to accept that the China is better at capitalism than US (Francis Fukuyama), there is no scope for non-democratic system. The means have becomes more important than the ends. The world needs to think out of box now as the democratic values are not divine revelations that cannot be challenged or replaced. The impeding and, in the third world’s case, dysfunctional democracy must be replaced by a better governing system like China which has proved Francis Fukuyama wrong that democracy is not the end of the world.

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