Laissez faire democracy
By Abdelkader Filali
Morocco World News
Toronto, Canada, July 7, 2012
“The city is like one person” Where the whole cities population collectively feels pain, feels anything… happiness or sadness, so if the city suffers or does well, we all do”
Words of a wise man
…After all we have to agree on some universal conclusions; our societies are in crisis. We have all to agree that Democracy can’t bring development such Mongolia, can’t end corruption as in Brazil and can’t end inequality as in U.S. There is only one thing democracies can do is that they don’t kill their citizens physically. But they kill them organically and clinically through long term death drops. When the Greeks affirmed that democracy is the rule of the people, by the people, for the people, they were ashamed to add “but not by all the people, by just few people”. The ruling ideas of each age have been the ideas of those who write the laws for us. By people who already had the ‘cheese’ and who wanted to keep the ‘cheese’. The great of this wave of consciousness is framed, shaped, colonized by sets of ideas and thoughts governed by those who made us believe that justice is blind.
These people want to own what is in water, air, and earth. And in late 20th century they added a fourth zone “what is in orbit!” They figure out that they need a system of laws, rules and regulations to ensure that we don’t take away. There has to be punishment, incentive, teaching for us people not to get close from them. They concluded there needs to be a group of people (police) that will be responsible for this. They thought that if they get the poor to agree with a system to essentially protect what they acquired. This was the big trick. Social bonds and compact was created to protect them from us. As Rousseau argued, property is treachery. The origins of inequality, Rousseau adds, is because of this treachery and we are still living in this system. Today, he’d say all the people are consenting without realizing through taxation, voting, obeying laws and we are endorsing the system that was created for our preservation.
To prosper is to free institutions
A Laissez Faire Democracy is to free institutions and letting fixing themselves through various mechanisms such as circulation of the elites who generate clientele relationships by means of bureaucracy. Members of parliament represent the example where bureaucracy is created from the economic elites which in turn become political elites. After the Reaganomics and Thatcherism till present day Laissez faire democracy means free the institutions, and the democratic institutions will remain victorious by freeing human consciousness. The violence which resides inside the institutions which we think have nothing to do with power and authority- deregulates, liberalizes, privatizes, and detaches the human agency.
What does democracy require is constant care. It has to be watched, and observed closely. It has to be shaken from time to time. It has to be fed regularly by organic seeds. The Modern Demos are convinced that they are not nearly as exploited, brainwashed or oppressed as it has been described before. The dramatic rise of the standard of living and the rise of the middle-class and the growth of the social welfare state as explanations of liberal democracy are metamorphoses of what man accomplished. The desire to be recognized and spirited was the founding of a theory which has taken only the liberal individual side of democracy and built a whole discourse ending the history. The one goal of this ideology is to legitimize those forces in a position of hegemony as Antonio Gramci puts it. This new rhythm tends to obfuscate the violence and exploitation of institutions that often keep a disempowered group in its place. In order to prosper one needs to liberalize to the maximum to achieve the limits of megalothymia, the feeling of being superior than the other. The relations between demos and institutions are invisible, only the result of the Kratia (election) is visible. Therefore, likelihood of corrective social action is decreased. The world creative innovations make it hard to believe that there is violence within institutions.
“We are all born free with chains everywhere” Rousseau – The invisible stick
The ruling sets of beliefs in every historical epoch are the beliefs that suit those who engineered the societal systems with its laws and boundaries. If you want to know what ideas people have about the way the world works, we need to look at the self-interest of those who built and named the institutions. They think this is natural, normal human nature. If you belong to a category of relations, there is a set of ideas to justify, believing it is natural and normal. This is in the interest of the holders of the ink. If you look at the US until the end of slavery, it was normal and natural for certain people to be slaves of other people. This was justified using various biblical and biological ideas.
The ideas which become our thoughts and we are trained to believe are ideas that come from the tall buildings where the invisible stick is hidden. This is just the way the world works so I am not marginalized. People must first eat and drink before they can philosophize. Therefore, philosophy is historically a creation of the upper class. A poor and worried person has no interest in philosophy. The social architect strategizes an ideology in launching internal and external ways of expansion as a solution for hyper crisis: by implementing consumerism, credit, luxury goods, welfare state. In the United States, the gap between rich and poor has been increasing since 1979, such that the top 5% saw a 73% increase in income, and the bottom 20% saw a 4.1% decrease (The Working Group on Extreme Equality, 2008).
The institutions were so successful in keeping the demos in chains because they were able to convince them that they were in fact free, and this can be explained through an understanding of the “function of responsibilities” and the command of institutions and this has nothing to do with the so called “social contract” because the social contract was ended long time ago. Civil society has been taken hostage in this scenario. It has been dictated that they are the new face of democracy. They are the spokesmen of society. Civil society is turning into the devil’s advocate. Since the 90’s the whole globe hurried towards taking share of the Reagannomics doctrine. A realm of organizations fulfills everyday an exact outline of the formula without even realizing it. They are the new democrats’ agents.
Here comes the invisible stick role. A counter intellectual discourse was created to block the disturbing voices. “What makes a society stick together is mutual fear” Hobbs. The thing that brings us all together because we are afraid of everyone else trying to take what we have is known as fear. We fear everyone because we have reason to fear everyone because in the state of nature, everyone has a right to everything. Whatever you can get your hands on, take, take, keep, keep, that is all fine. This thought had its deep impact on the global world international affairs from Hans Morgenthau to John J. Mearsheimer. Wars, military interventions, economic crisis took place by the name of national security doctrines! Hobbes says you can’t have contracts unless there is some kind of sanction/punishment for breaking the contract. A contract that doesn’t have power behind it or someone to enforce it with overwhelming violence, it is not worth anything. The Neo-Malthusians oppose immigration; they want to control the poor. The logic that was in place is that through the market mechanisms an efficient society raises.
Democracy alarming call turns into the market. It is the only system the individual knows; it is the only system his or her parents knew- this makes it easy for individuals to accept that this is simply the way things ought to be. Not only does the citizen believes that the system is normal, but he reinforces this system by now identifying himself as a liberal and democrat. He/she defines himself by the kinds of non limit of his or her unlimited individual liberties, by the things he or she can purchase, and the more he sinks, the more institutions become mechanical – the whole process of market democracy is furthered. Every day he or she watches commercials and reads magazines at the bus stops that teach him/her to tie his/her self-worth to the amount of superiority he/she can acquire more than his/her neighbor. Ours is a society obsessed with body shape, body-psychosis, spending and consumer goods. Individuals are convinced through the media and advertisement that the 21 century citizen is better of. This reminds me of science fiction movies of prototype citizens. Carefully crafted commercials lure individuals into how to be the best, suggesting that we will be fulfilled or in some sense superior to others. But we will never be fulfilled, until we start attacking the institutions to gain back our true essence as human beings- which is to engage, to act on humanity.
From a laissez faire Neo Liberalism to a laissez faire Neo Democracy
The refashioning of governance and flattening shape opened the door for money. Paul Martin used to be a CEO of Canadian Steamship Lines. Many prime ministers come from a business-oriented background which reinforces the idea of elite. The businessmen and politicians are one in the same in the political system. Business executives are often policymakers, and vice versa (John Manley, Former DPM, Minister of Finance, Industry and Foreign Trade, now President Canadian Council of Chief Executives CCCE)
The businessmen influence state by circulating positions. These are the people who share the same characteristics. They socialize together and most of the times build kinships. The Establishment in the U.S foreign policy means the whole structure which is built on connaissance and networking. The same group of people who used to go to the same IV league schools get connections and hire each other and recommend each other, where it is hard for outsiders to penetrate into the castle. The political institutions become an elite controlled system where government policies are designed to the advantage of elites as opposed to the rest.
In Canada a cartel of owned family business expand from; Insurance, Manufacturing, Company Investments (Bonds), Broadcasting (Radio), Oil and Gas, Real Estate, University Schools, co-owning buildings with Governments. They own Thin Tanks, a Heritage at the Canadian Council of Chief Executives CCCE, CD Howe, Fraser Institute, Conference Board, Canadian Banks, and Canadian Forces Liaison Council. BCNI which later changed into CCCE lobbied $ 20 million for free trade (1985-1988). They threatened employees if they don’t support Free Trade in 1988 election (eg. Crown Insurance threatens plant closures to employees). The media on its part played a role in engineering the shift of democracy into a laissez faire democracy. It is uncritical of defect of democracy. Its reports are not objective. If these situations happen in a Southern country, we all say dictators, invaders.
The triumph of public choice politics regards business as a solid component of politics. People in business take control of spheres that were of government duties, in order to protect their particular industry. Voters in a democracy are rationally ignorant. Each system generates the source of its own downfall. The thing that brought us together is the thing that will drive us apart! Since Adam Smith through all the monetarists from Ricardo till Friedman, the doxa was letting the market fix itself. To prosper is to free the market. Ricardo preached for trade. It is always in our interest to trade. It is never the case according to Ricardo that you are better off doing everything in your own country. If you are greedy and you want material wealth, it makes no difference if you do everything better than anyone else, you should still trade. Because of his understanding of competitive advantage: “You need to find out what your comparative advantage is in order to keep trading”.
Nemesis “retribution” to give what is due
Social needs are non- negotiable. Education, Habitat, Health must be out of any compromise in any society. The strength of a city is not in its wealth but in its just distribution, and its well being is not in raking up wealth, and ranking in the first line but to protect the one great thing: Education, Health, and Habitat. Remember, Habitat is used here to reinforce its value, its human warmth but not a shelter. A shelter is a constructed term used by politicians to dismiss homeless from habitat. Justice is what will bring unity in a city, and injustice will tear it apart. The force of Nemesis is not creating welfare state system and subsidize. It is pulling the low ranking up, not giving them death drops. Their children go to low income family activities for 30 minute of swimming whereas other kids play hockey and travel to Aspen. These tranquilizers will not last. Nemesis suggests new ways of rethinking about things. Probably the answers are back in previous civilizations. How pulling out the poor is going to work? The three spheres should not be mixed with money, and no sphere should dominate the other as Waltzer puts it. It is a problematic that our kids pay for university studies. When one sphere colonizers the other is the evidence that democracy is in the hand of the market in societies which believe that money does the work.
“Civil war in the soul”, Socrates. What defines a city is not only architecture but relationships. Sarkozy while Interior Minister in 2005 labeled the angry vulnerable “second degree Frenchmen” by “racaille” a term considered to bear implicit racial and ethnic resonances. In 2011, David Cameron the British prime minister criticized the rioters in UK by saying they are cunts. One of the observers replied “Sure they may be cunts, but cunts can have legitimate grievances too.” Both Sarkozy’ and Cameron’s tough talk has focused on what were clearly the symptoms, not the core problems. Systems in the two Wests: North America and UK West 1 and French Germany West2 (which is going to be detailed in another article- The two wests) have attained a point where human agency barely affects their functioning. For these systems to make their existence and the necessity for their being in the world, they need these crises to remind us that is what the world might turn into if they did not constitute the framework from within which we draw the rules that preserve peace in society.
Morpheus and Neo’ pills
This is an extract of the Movie “The Matrix” written by Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
Morpheus: Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Like a splinter in your mind — driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The Matrix?
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
(Neo nods his head.)
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, or when go to church or when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. (long pause, sighs) Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.
(In his left hand, Morpheus shows a blue pill.)
Morpheus: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. (a red pill is shown in his other hand) You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. (Long pause; Neo begins to reach for the red pill) Remember — all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.—- End of dialogue——
Allegory of the Tall Building
As if we are living another episode of Allegory of the cave, but this time instead of the cave we have the tall building. What is the cave first? It is an abstract of the human condition in unjust society. The cave is the story of prisoners chained before the shadows, and dragged out of the cave. In one case, some people are freed, while others are not and they are left in the cave.
Cave, shadows, visible outside, the sun – imagination, belief, thought, understanding
The prisoners have only seen the shadows; they think this is the world, real. They think that the shadows are norms and values of the world (that aren’t the right values they have grown up with) it is the only reality they have learned and known.
In the tall building and behind the demos (the prisoners) are the masters (market culture, lawyers, politicians. etc). They think that the shadows coming from the windows are norms and values of the world; it is the only reality they have learned and known. When the demos are “dragged out” to meet “thought”, at this very moment as Socrates says anyone can act nobly and justly.
What about when we vote for a representative in government? Rousseau says that actually makes you more of a slave. Having a representative or choosing a government does not make you free. We can be slaves for two reasons: 1) we are dependent on others, we are governed by the laws of others and 2) we are slaves from not listening to our reason. It occurs when we let the animal part of us rule. We are all slaves, maybe some more than others. Rousseau says we should not accept what we see around us as real. He is giving us a new vision (Think Morpheus and Neo)
In the ancient Greece, the philosophers have a debt to the city; they owe the city for their obligation. So they have an obligation because they were shaped and formed by the city. What do we have now? Who is going to take care of the city? Who has a debt to the city in our moment of time? Remember the city was like a family, to look after the city is to look after family members. Our task is to keep actively criticizing the institutions in order to unmask what has been played obscurely in the tall building. If not we are turning into guards, performing low level policing in the near coming future.
Abdelkader Filali is a specialist in Political Science- Latin America and Arab World at the University of Toronto- Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Center of Victims of Torture CCVT, and Canadian Center for International Justice CCIJ and founder of : www.utsc.utoronto.ca/acnames
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy