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(So-called) Western “Democracy”

NYT reporting on Italy’s crisis and Berlusconi’s resignation:

In the end, thus, it was not the sex scandals, the corruption trials against him or even a loss of popular consensus that appeared to end Mr. Berlusconi’s 17 years as a dominant figure in Italian political life. It was, instead, the pressure of the markets and the European Union, which could not risk his dragging down the euro and with it the world economy.

In short the rich people, the “landed interests”, decided it was time to for him to go and so he went. Popular opinion, criminal acts, etc. didn’t matter.

This is Western democracy in action.

BTW – don’t take simply an indictment of the U.S. and Italy – the Iraq war showed that despite overwhelming opposition of their populations, Western European nations (and Eastern) all for the most part (with the notable exception of France), happily contributed.

Again, Western democracy in action.


I should note that, yes, these are actually “Democratic Republics”, where the point of the “Republic” is that a select, better informed, leadership will make decisions in the best interest of the populace. Subsequently those decisions will sometimes be at odds with popular opinion.

There are a number of problems with this:

First, in regards to decisions like bringing a nation to war, this is exactly the sort of act that is so critical that it ought to reflect the will of the people, or at least acknowledge it. This seems to almost never be the case. Frankly lately war is doled out like water.

Second, while I am often dubious of the population’s understanding of issues, I am equally dubious of our leadership’s understanding. It is clear listening to Congressmen and the like that they are just as subject to jingoistic dogma as anyone else. In short, they aren’t for the most part bringing anything special to the table.

Third, there’s a patently false claim that somehow our leaders aren’t just as subject to bias and influence as the average citizen. From what I can see if anything these people are more compromised and more biased than “the mob” (in fact they are attracted to these positions because they are compromised). Moreover they sit in a closed “Village” where it is an echo chamber of corporate and special interest propaganda (not to mention peers with a common agenda). It is hard to see how they could not come out without a distorted view.

That said, I don’t have a better mousetrap – Democratic Republics are currently, at least for now, where it’s at. Also, the “tyranny of mob” is a true and dangerous element (see Nazi Germany), one which it is worth injecting a Republic in front of. Still, I think at least part of the answer is putting more “democracy” into our “democracies”.


Another way to put why Berlusconi had to go:

He ceased to be useful to the powers that be, so he was sent packing…

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