If a democracy can elect a Marxist government, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with the democracy.
This conclusion may sound uncomfortable and politically suspect, but it has more to do with logic than with politics.
The very essence of Marxism is transferring power to the ‘people’, which is the Marxist jargon for a small group of bureaucrats running a tyrannical, omnipotent state.
However, grudgingly allowing that modern democracy has veered a long way away from the word’s etymological origin, even in its manipulated form it’s still rather different from Marxism.
Democracy isn’t exactly bondage, whereas, if Marxism is different from slavery at all, it’s only in legalistic technicalities.
We are therefore looking at a difficult paradox: democratic people may democratically vote for de facto putting an end to democracy. In other words, free people may opt for slavery and rape the spirit of the law without breaking its single letter.
It’s impossible to argue against such a possibility without also arguing against democracy, as it now is.
Note that so far I haven’t made a single political or indeed moral argument. I’m simply staying in the domain of logic, where it’s irrelevant whether we think Marxism is virtuous or evil.
What is relevant is that no viable system can have a self-destruct button to be pushed by majority decision. If it has such a button, and within easy reach, it’s no longer viable.
Hence the shelf of democracy must come with bookends, demarcating the allowable extension in either direction. Should such restraints be firmly planted, the electorate could still go wrong, at times terribly wrong. But it won’t be allowed to commit political suicide.
Such bookends, usually called checks and balances, can take different shapes. It doesn’t really matter which as long as the public’s ability to self-harm is securely kept within reasonable limits.
History provides ample empirical proof that, no matter how much we adore democracy of any type, it’ll ultimately fail in the absence of a clearly defined limit on its power.
Thus the perfectly democratic Athenian constitution of Solon didn’t last as long as the rather authoritarian Spartan constitution of Lycurgus, wherein the king was separated from his subjects by an aristocratic council. According to Plutarch, that council added stability to the commonwealth like the ballast in a ship.
In post-Hellenic Europe, it’s England’s constitution, developed over centuries from its medieval precursor the Witenagemot, that has provided the best balance among various mechanisms of government.
The royal power of the crown at one end, the elected power of the Commons at the other and the unelected power of the Lords as the mediator in between created by far the oldest and most successful constitution in the world.
England sometimes went tragically wrong, but there was enough margin of error built in for the commonwealth still to survive without abandoning too many of its basic principles. Democracy functioned because it wasn’t dogmatically democratic.
The very real danger that we’re likely to have a Marxist government within months, possibly weeks, is a tell-tale sign that the system has become irreparably flawed: its inner logic no longer works.
If we realise that the system is sputtering to a grinding halt, diagnosing the problem isn’t unduly hard. Obviously whatever kept the system ticking along come what may is no longer there.
Our democracy is no longer balanced. The bookends have been removed; the books have fallen down on the floor.
What we’re observing now is a result of the systematic constitutional vandalism perpetrated by successive governments, most prominently, though far from exclusively, by that led by Blair.
The House of Lords has been debauched to a point where it doesn’t, nor indeed is able to, counterbalance the elected power of the Commons, whereas the crown lost all executive power long ago.
Though Blair’s government is especially culpable in this perversion of the country’s entire political history, sniping at the hereditary chamber has been a popular sport for at least my rather long lifetime. (The temptation to say ‘for 200 years’ is strong, but I’ll desist for fear of sounding too controversial.)
The House is Lords is unelected and undemocratic, scream democracy hounds. Of course it is, should have been the proper reply. That’s its whole point, for unelected means immune to political pressures. The upper House is there to prevent the commonwealth from committing inadvertent suicide.
Alas, we’re no longer brave enough to proffer this reply. Hence, rather than empowering the people, democracy has become a deadly weapon in the hands of those who wish to empower a wicked elite, relying inter alia on an endless expansion of the franchise and systematic dumbing down of the populace.
The larcenous syllogism hammered into the increasingly ignorant heads of the electorate seems unassailable: democracy is uniquely good; democracy means one vote for every man, woman and increasingly child; ergo, any other mechanism of government is bad even if it’s only a part of the political mix.
One can remain unbiased and dispassionate only for so long, and at this point I’ll go so far as to say that the notion of a Marxist government ruling Britain isn’t just illogical but evil.
I hope there’s enough residual spunk and sagacity left among the British to prevent this catastrophe from happening. However, the destiny of a nation shouldn’t hinge on the tenuous hope that the electorate will stop just short of suicide.
There should be sufficient safety mechanisms built into the system to be activated automatically when self-destruction beckons. Yet such cut-off valves are manifestly missing in our democracy-run-riot.
If they still existed, we wouldn’t be anxiously checking the current standing of what has the rich potential of becoming the most evil government elected in a European country since 1933.