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My Problem with Democracy

My Problem with Democracy

Now before you go judgmental on me thinking I’m pro the North Korea kind of governance where internet is illegal, take a minute to actually hear me out. Don’t get me wrong,  I’m one of the most liberal people you will come across, always in favor of individuals being free to decide what they want to do. Having being raised in my formative years by a totalitarian father I grew up to be very rebellious and a liberty freak. But liberty and democracy though related in some ways are oceans apart.

When the progress of the nation is entrusted on the masses, it becomes a problem considering the masses are usually generally uninformed on matters that relate to economy, science and technology, international relations and others. In under-developed economies, the bulk of the voters is made of uneducated people whose main interest is voting in their tribe. Another big part of the voting crowd is the youth, some are educated and some are not. While the youth might be comfortable relating with others outside their tribal boundaries most of their choices are misguided based largely on peer pressure, and very unintelligent opinions like “I’m voting for him because he’s rich” – a university student friend of mine actually told me this.

A democratic society will obviously have the will of the majority favored against that of the minority. And while it will represent the general will of the people, it could be based on irrational arguments. That’s why in Kansas, the Board of Education in 2005 ruled that evolution should not be taught as a scientific fact but just a theory and that Intelligent Design considered an alternative. While this won’t make any sense to someone well educated in science, it was the will of the people.

Democracy can very easily evolve into a tyranny where the minority is oppressed by the majority. According to John T. Wenders, “Democracy is two coyotes and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch”.  In American States like Texas and Minnesota an atheist cannot hold public office. Even though the laws against religious discrimination for public office were overruled in 1961 by the Supreme Court in Torcaso vs Watkins, some states haven’t removed the law from their state constitutions. Also in most states gay marriage is still illegal. This is a clear example of the majority oppressing the minority because they have the numbers.

The late Steve Jobs once said that “People do not know what they want until you show it to them.” While I don’t like a lot of things about Apple, I agree with Jobs on this to some extent. Like I mentioned earlier people have a tendency to base their arguments on irrational judgement.  No matter how far from the facts they might be, they will still most likely go with what they “feel”. Coming back to the developing societies, where in most cases over 90% of the population is religious, the masses agree with churches on favoring abstinence over promoting protected sex. These societies of course exhibit a higher rate of transmission of STDs than the less-religious, more practical societies. And the US being the most religious country in the developed world, sex education is mostly guided by religion than by facts. That is why it has the highest teen pregnancy rate of the developed world.

Now on to why I did this blog post in the first place. My motherland Kenya is going into its most important presidential election. Among the candidates is Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the first president of Kenya. If Uhuru wins this election he will be the third president from the Kikuyu tribe out of the four presidents Kenya has had since independece. Kenya has 42 tribes with Kikuyu being the largest but that is not my point. As you probably already know Uhuru and his running mate William Ruto are being indicted for crimes against HUMANITY at the f******* ICC! Okay I’m a getting a bit emotional here…relax…relax… Ruto comes from the third largest tribe in Kenya, so if this election was to go tribal they would have a very high chance of winning. Thing is all Kenyan presidential elections have been tribal ever since. Once again the masses decide on what is good for them. And as I mentioned the bulk of the voters will be voting without a clue of how things actually work.


Now here is the reality. Kenya enjoys a very good relation with the western countries. A lot of government programmes rely on aid. Some western countries have expressed warnings at electing the ICC suspects but Uhuru keeps telling voters that Kenya can do without foreign aid. This is a blatant lie, and as the former minister of Finance he knows that best. Kenya currently owes over US $ 16 billion. Tourism is Kenya’s second largest source of revenue, and over 60% of the tourists are from western countries. It is very likely that Kenya will withdraw from the Rome Statute if Uhuru wins the election and this will screw up our ties with west. What will happen is the world will witness another Zimbabwe. Of course the average Kenyan living in the rural area will not think in these terms. And so the fate of Kenya lies in their hands.

Alan De Benoist in his book “The Problem of Democracy” argues that democracy reduces an individual to a cog in a machine which they can’t control. And the direction is set by politicians with little genuine accountability.  Plato the philosopher in The Republic of Plato criticized democracy and ranked it only better than tyranny but worse than aristocracy, timocracy and oligarchy. He argued that the masses shouldn’t vote since they were not educated in philosophy and arts. I’m not arguing here that the uneducated and the youth should not vote, rather I think Plato’s ideal aristocratic government led by wise men would be best in Kenya’s current situation, and that democracy in the coming election, is probably it’s worst enemy.