Is democracy really the best?
DEMOCRACY is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” We shall revert to these quotations shortly. I didn’t want to make reference to SI 64 again this week. I know very little about how an economy works. Instead, I would have loved to comment at length on America’s Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Like I have said in the past, I love him for his forthrightness. Given a chance, I would love to spend more time in the company of people such as Trump and former apartheid leader PW Botha.
They make you learn a few tricks about telling people truth that hurts. Botha didn’t think much of blacks of whom he said they could not plan their lives beyond a day. It’s up to you to prove him wrong.
That’s his view from personal experience. Let’s hear Trump the billionaire who speaks his mind. At the recent Republican convention, he was confronted by reporters for the New York Times to comment on a wide range of issues, including American foreign policy. He was reminded of Bush and America’s self-anointed role as a global crusader for the opium of democracy and human rights.
Instead, Trump seems to have picked up the mirror and face America herself, like this clip:
SANGER (reporter): “Erdogan (Turkish leader who had just suppressed a coup) put nearly 50 000 people in jail or suspend them, suspended thousands of teachers, he imprisoned many in the military and the police, he dismissed a lot of the judiciary.
“Does this worry you? And would you rather deal with a strongman who’s also been a strong ally, or with somebody that’s got a greater appreciation of civil liberties than Mr Erdogan has? Would you press him to make sure the rule of law applies?”
TRUMP: “I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country.
“We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore.
“When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems.
“When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”
There was more said. Suffice to note here that Trump refused to indulge the reporter’s hypocrisy of America’s messianic role about “civil liberties” and “rule of law”.
There is a clear distinction between an ideal and what the reality demands at a particular moment. I could go on.
But I found myself drawn back to mother Earth by the business headlines in the private media yesterday, all against the backdrop of Zanu-PF’s “clueless” policies since 1980. (Yes, according to these sages the history of the black man’s misery begins with independence. Colonial rule was our golden era, hitting the zenith under Ian Smith — a ringing endorsement of Botha’s observation.) Here is a sample of the headlines: DailyNews: “Trade deficit drops”, “Zim gears for cashless economy”, “Stanbic Bank offers exciting home loans”, and “Harare can do it.”
NewsDay and its “Southern Eye” version: “Goods import ban unconstitutional: Veritas”, “Court clears anti-Govt demo”, “Mpilo hospital gets new maternity equipment”, “Influx of cheap imports hurt Zim firms”, “ZSE bounces back”, “Govt set to revive Dimaf ”, “GetCash launches mobile money app”.
Now dear reader, set these truthful headlines of Thursday July 28, 2016, against State media “propaganda” of the same day led by the flagship, The Herald: “Brainworks unveils GetCash platform”, “Zim imports fall 13,3 percent”, “Govt to make Dimaf bigger, accessible”, “Chinamasa urges banks to rise to competition”, “Govt can do more on corporate governance.”
After looking at all these headlines of truth versus propaganda, I recalled the opening quotes to this article, both ascribed to Winston Churchill; “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
A historian majoring on Churchill, Richard M Langworth, disputes that the British war time Prime Minister made the first observation. What is however undisputed is that Churchill was a brainy Briton and recently overtook the bard, William Shakespeare as the greatest Briton who ever lived.
That said, I have no reservations about his observations. First, humans are free moral agents. We all have a limitless capacity to think although we might not always think like we have the capacity to. So, Let’s enjoy our democracy.
The second quotation is a bit problematic; “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” The positive developments conveyed in the headlines run across media houses.
It is not Herald propaganda. Yet when it suits the politics, we are assailed daily by news of an inexorably dying economy, a clueless Government. Who’s making the most ardent argument against democracy here? Who is the average voter?
“Goods import ban unconstitutional: Veritas”, “Court clears anti-Govt demo”. These have become the stock-in-trade of the private media.
Demonstrations have become the in-thing against Government’s failure “to stop the economic rot”.
The same will happily campaign that the “international community” should not help the Mugabe regime. That includes current spirited appeals to Britain and America to use their vote to block any plans by the International Monetary Fund to extend lines of credit to Zimbabwe. (I am opposed to the IMF and World Bank as lenders or economic advisors but for completely different reasons.) Turn to page 8